Indonesian cyclist Imam Arifin won stage seven of Tour de Singkarak from Harau Canyon to Padang Panjang in West Sumatra on Friday (24/11). (SP Photo/Joanito de Saojoao)
Thomas Lebas Has Become the New Champion of Tour de Flores 2017
BY :DION BISARA
JULY 19, 2017
Jakarta. Thomas Lebas has become the new champion of Tour de Flores after finishing first in the last stage of the tour's second edition on Wednesday (19/07).
The Frenchman, who rides with the Japanese Kinan Cycling Team, finished the 760.8-kilometer race over the last six days in East Nusa Tenggara's Flores Island tour in 19:38:21. He was also awarded Rp 45 million ($3,378) in prize money.
Lebas's cumulative time was 5 minutes faster than Iranian champion, Arvin Moazzami Godarzi of the Pishgaman Cycling Team who finished in second place.
Last year's champion Daniel Whitehouse was unable to make up for his 13 minutes deficit — due to a slow start and cramps in the first and second stages — finishing in sixth place.
In the last stage — which involved a 120-kilometer descent from Ruteng to Manggarai — Lebas stayed in the peloton for most of the race, knowing he had 5 minutes lead over his closest rival Moazami.
"Today my team controls the race and we know the last part is very hard, so we know we have a good chance," Lebas said.
Lebas credited his team, Kinan, which also won best team award in Tour de Flores 2017 for helping him win the last stage.
"My team worked very hard, so I wanted to try for the last stage," Lebas said. This was also his first and only top finish in the tour.
Lebas attacked before the last king of the mountain, forming a group of four with Marcelo Felipe of 7-Eleven Cycling Team, Whitehouse and Moazami. They stayed closed together for the last 30-kilometer descent to Labuan Bajo and finished within a split second apart.
Muhammad Imam Arifin of the KFC Cycling Team won the best Indonesian rider award for completing the tour in the shortest time, but he lost the blue jersey — the best Southeast Asia rider title — to Filipino rider Felipe, who finished second in the last stage. Imam finished eighth in the last stage of the race.
Tour de Flores was organized in an attempt to promote tourism to the East Nusa Tenggara region. The race passed through winding coastal roads in the southern part of the island, navigated the foggy cliffs in temperate regions in the central part of the island, as well as the dry savanna in the north.
Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) listed the multistage, category 2 race on its annual calendar. The tour was first held in 2016.