Luke Fetch and Paul van der Ploeg raced together to win and take second in stage 2 of the Tour de Timor. The duo finished together at 4:12:10 and 4:12:11 in Beaco. They were able to gain 13:25 on yesterday's winner and defending champion Adrian Jackson. Both Jackson and his teammate Ben Mather flatted early in the race. Tinker Juarez continued his strong form with a third place finish.
Fetch spoke about his victory. "AJ and Ben Mather pretty much had the pace on from the gun, we had about six guys in the bunch, until AJ punctured. Ben stopped with AJ and we were able to get away."
Compared to stage 1, Fetch said that "the pace started off a lot harder. There was quite a lot of climbing to do, a bit of wind. It definitely wasn't an easy stage."
Jackson finished in sixth with a time of 4:25:45 after having punctured at the 14km mark "Yeah I had a flat, I mean it wasn't too bad, we changed it pretty quickly; me and Ben stopped because he is my teammate," said Jackson. "We got going again but soon after that, Ben got a flat as well so then I was on my own having to chase down the group of three up the road who would have been working as hard as they could."
"I'm sure I'm out of the top three now," said Jackson. "Paul and Luke will be working with their team to hold their places. It's hard when it is me and Ben working against four other guys, but we'll try our best."
Paul van der Ploeg was philosophical about finishing behind teammate Fetch. "Yeah second again, but it was more about the exposure, getting our team across the line. We both deserved it today." And he continues to be impressed by the strength of the field. "At the very start, we were going at the same pace that I race the World Cup cross country, it was very fast. It is sort of a gamble with cross country because Adrian flatted and we just had to keep the pace from there."
Juarez who finished in 4:23:30, was similarly taken aback by the pace of the Tour de Timor so far. "I just knew that today was going to be a tough day, I think I did a little too much yesterday pushing it too hard. I think today was harder, much harder".
Talking about the crowd support Juarez said, "It's about the only thing that could keep me motivated, the people were really, really fun to see, even having my worst day I still love to see the kids and wave to them. At least I can take that positive away."
Mohd Razif Mohd Salleh continued his strong run of form at the top of the Malaysian team, finishing ninth with a time of 4:46, while Shahrin Amir and Muhamad Fauzan Ahmad finished 12th and 15th respectively. Nelson Silva also continued to be the top Portuguese national with his 11th placing.
The women's team "Nothing Good Can Come of This" continued their strong run of form, with Katherine O'Shea, Naomi Hansen and Peta Mullens arriving in a group of approximately 10 riders at the finish.
Orlando da Costa also came in that group of 10 riders in a time of 5:07:45. He told of his brother Jacinto's problems with his shoes that kept him out of the contention for top Timorese rider. "It was hard today, but I was happy to work in the group that I had."
Also in Da Costa's group were the top four female riders, Neil van der Ploeg and the Indonesian rider Sokianto, who came in with his team.
Sugianto Binjai was the first Indonesian to finish. In his first Tour de Timor, he said, "The course is really good, although the wind is really strong". Binjai was thoroughly impressed with the race, saying "My own feeling is that this Tour is really good, when I go back to Indonesia I definitely want to tell the other riders to come, I will invite them to participate in next year's (race); it has been awesome."
Katherine O'Shea said, "There was four of us (women) together today. We kind of had the upper hand because we had three of our team members with us . We really just wanted to cover Peta and keep her in GC; we just want to make sure we secure those top three GC spots".
Melinda Jackson of team Trailmix came in second open women's category.
The 122km stage was characterised by downhill from the mountains to the South Coast. Rough roads outof the mountains continued throughout the route making for difficult going for the riders. Sections of flat, mostly sealed surface allowed some speed for riders after passing the Viqueque river, but by and large this has been a stage that most cyclists are happy to have behind them. Tomorrow's ride of 69km will provide welcome respite for many.
Beaco is a small village on the South Coast of Timor. It is part of the Viqueque district and looks out across the Timor Sea towards Australia. The village is the site of several Portuguese era buildings including a church and a trading post. Although the beach itself looks inviting, word from the locals is to keep out of the water: crocodiles abound.
Full Stage Results (includes men and women; no overall results available)
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|2||Paul van der Ploeg||0:00:01|
|9||Mohd Razif Mohd Salleh||0:33:49|
|15||Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lutfi||0:33:52|
|33||Orlando Da Costa|
|34||Neil van der Ploeg|
|41||Jacinto Da Costa|
|51||Pedro Miguel Pinto Carvalho de Figueiredo||1:20:00|