Cycling: On the brink of history

Goh Choon Huat is 132km away from winning Le Tour de Filipinas.

Leading the charge for the OCBC Singapore Pro Cycling Team, the rider retained his yellow jersey when he finished 29th in the 146.6km Stage 3 race from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong.

Goh crossed the line in 4hr 12min and 49sec - 24 seconds behind stage winner Patria Rastra from the Pegasus Continental Team from Indonesia.

He is now on the brink of becoming the first Singaporean to win a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Asian Tour race, emulating the achievement of former teammate Loh Sea Keong, who won the first one for the OCBC team at the Jelajah Malaysia last year.

Loh now races for Dutch cycling team Giant-Shimano, and Goh is quickly becoming one of the stars of the Singapore team.

Speaking to The New Paper after the race yesterday, Goh said: "I'm excited and at the same time really nervous. But we have a strong team, and they have been motivating me to do my best."

The 23-year-old singled out the riders from Iranian cycling team Tabriz Shahrdari Ranking as the ones who could still spoil his party.

He said: "The Iranian team have strong climbers and the last stage will have more hard mountain climbs, so they will be a threat."

History is not with him.

Last year, Goh finished 44th out of 52 riders in the final stage, although he has done far better so far this time.

He said: "Experience, confidence and the Yellow Jersey have given me the edge this time.

"I've also been working extra hard in training this year and I've never felt stronger."


Goh seized the yellow jersey after coming in 13th in Stage 2 on Tuesday, catapulting him to pole position from sixth place in the General Classification (GC) standings.

All eyes will now be on him as he attempts to help the OCBC Team clinch their second win in their four-year history.

Today's 132.7km final stage takes the peloton from Bayombong to Baguio City, a climb of up more than 3,000m.

Goh and teammate Eric Sheppard, who finished yesterday's stage in 23rd spot, helped the OCBC outfit remain in first place in the Team GC standings, ahead of Team 7-Eleven Roadbike Philippines and Tabriz Shahrdari Ranking.

While Goh is so close to making history, he acknowledges he has a tough task ahead of him.

But he said: "This will be the greatest achievement of my young cycling career. I'm ready to put everything on the line."

This article was published on April 24 in The New Paper.

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