ROGERS ENDURES CRAMPS TO FINISH SECOND
He felt his right quadricep cramp after turning the final corner at the OCBC Cycle Singapore Professional Criterium at the Marina Bay F1 circuit last night.
But Rico Rogers persevered and pushed himself to become OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team's first rider on the podium in the criterium's six-year history, finishing second behind Drapac Professional Cycling's Wouter Wippert.
OCBC's Mitchell Mulhern, in his first race for them, was among the top three riders in the last few laps but set his teammate up for the podium finish in the final lap.
Rogers, 35, said: "I started to get a bit of cramps after I turned the corner, but I just had to keep pushing on because it was such a big race.
"It was our own race and we had to do well here."
Wippert beat the home favourite by half a bike length in 1hr 31min 21sec on a warm and humid night.
It was his fourth win of the season and his team's first victory in Singapore.
The 23-year-old Dutchman said: "It was a perfect race, it was the exact strategy that we discussed before the race.
"I knew that to win I had to be among the front three riders when we turned the last corner, because the final straight was very short, just 200m."
He walked away with US$12,500 ($15,800) in prize money, while Rapha Condor JLT's Graham Briggs finished third.
The OCBC Singapore team also clinched another title when Cameron Bayly retained the team's king of sprints crown with 29 points.
Guest rider Neil van der Ploeg, an Australian, won the title last year, while teammate Phuchong Saiudomsin, a Thai, clinched the Best Asian rider title.
But the Singapore team relinquished the latter title to Terengganu Cycling Team's Mohammad Saufi Mat Senan, who finished in 21st position.
OCBC's lone local cyclist, Ho Jun Rong, finished 26th, 18 seconds off the pace.