BY RAMADANI SAPUTRA | THE JAKARTA POST
When it comes down to it, determination has a greater impact than giftedness, Olympian cyclist Kristin Armstrong once said. Such spirit was reflected in Eritrean Metkel Eyob of Trengganu TSG Cycling, who conquered the 2019 Tour de Indonesia’s toughest stage – Stage 4, known for having the cycling race’s steepest climb at Ijen Crater in Banyuwangi, East Java.
Eyob dominated in ascending the 147.3-kilometer stage by clocking in at 4:16:33. It was an important milestone for the Eritrean as he had met his own target in his debut of the tour.
“The race is very tough, especially the last 10 km with the steep climb. It was a hard race today,” he told journalists.
“The previous three stages were also hard. My teammate who has competed before [in the tour] told me that [Stage 4] would be all about steep climbs so I was prepared to face it and I tried to do my best.”
Eyob was not exaggerating when talking about the hardship he endured in the stage, as other cyclists could attest.
Frenchman Thomas Lebas of Kinan Cycling Team, who finished behind Eyob in second place, said he was well aware that the climb in Banyuwangi would be tough, as he had climbed the route at the Tour de Banyuwangi last year.
“I did a very good job in the bottom of the climb and after that I pushed to the maximum as much as I could. I am disappointed for not winning the stage but happy for the GC [general classification],” said Lebas, the leader in the individual standings.
Despite wearing the green jersey, Lebas is also the top climber, with 55 points as of Stage 4.
Iranian Amir Kolahdouz Hagh of Taiyuan Miogee Cycling secured third place of the stage with 4:17:23.
Seventy-nine cyclists will continue their journey on Friday in the final stage of the tour, which stretches from Gilimanuk to Geopark Museum in Batur, Bali.