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1998 Tour ng Pilipinas


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Cebu City Prologue

Mindanao's Durain leaves field eating dust
By TITO S. TALAO Manila Bulletin

CEBU CITY - A little-known Filipino rider will have the honor of being the first to wear the highy-visible yellow jer sey in the P9.2 million Marlboro Centennial Tour.

Virgilio Durain, a 19-year-old rookie from the Mindanao team and a member of the Philippine Mountain Bike team, raced like hell yester day through the smol dering Osmena and Jones Boulevards - the Tour's 3.9 kilome ter race-against-the- clock trial prologue - in five minutes and 2.68 seconds to snatch the thunder from Chinese team skipper Tang Xuez hong, who submitted the second fastest time.

VIRGILIO DURAIN takes a pause that refreshes him after he captured the prologue of the Marlboro Tour in Cebu yesterday. He will wear the yellow jersey in today's Stage One. (Boy GARCIA Jr.)

While his spirited drive to thwart Tang and the rest of foreign legion may have drawn praises from his compatriots, Dur ain's blazing ride set him up as an early target in today's 133.9-kilometer sec ond stage from the capital to Bogo City and back.

Checking in third 4.7 seconds down was Malaysian Muru gayan Kumaresan fol lowed by China's Xiao Yechen (8.35 seconds slower) and the Phil ippines' Victor Espiri tu (9.18 seconds back).

Wong Kam Po, the defending champion and the last to flagged off among the 84 riders, was 18.97 seconds behind at 13th. He was edged by Tonton Susanto, Indonesia's pride, who finished ninth, 13.58 seconds behind.

Hovering outside the top 10 circle were Placido Valdez of Nueva Ecija (14th), 1993-1994 champion Carlo Guieb (15th), Malaysian mountain climbing expert Hoong Tsen Seong (20th), and 1992 and 1995 champion Ren ato Dolosa (52nd).

Tang spearheaded the Chinese team's early leadership in the P500,000 team competition as the Mainlanders led Ma laysia by 21 seconds and the Philippines by 29 seconds.

Rounding up the top 10 team event among the 14 partici pants are Metro Ma nila (39 seconds be hind), Mindanao (41), Nueva Ecija (49), Ja pan (50), Indonesia (53), Southern Luzon (1:03), and Hong Kong (1:06).

Durain won P7,000 for his short work in the prologue. He also earned 15 points in the points competi tion, a side event worth P50,000 to the winner at the end of the tour.

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