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Britain's Mark Cavendish won the opening stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour, outsprinting his rivals to snatch the overall lead in a crash-marred climax on Thursday.

The Dimension Data rider beat German Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Italy's Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrein Merida) after a perfect lead-out from his team mates at the end of a 189-km flat ride.

German Marcel Kittel (Quick Step Floors) and Australian Caleb Ewan (Orica Scott) both crashed with one kilometer to go and could not contest the final sprint. Both rode their bikes to the line with bruises.

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MANILA — Navy-Standard Insurance's Jan Paul Morales and Rudy Roque will go into the final 3 stages of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas as the last two riders with a realistic chance of going home with this year's title.

Morales has been leading the way with an aggregate time of 37 hours, 25 minutes and 56 seconds after 11 stages while Roque is just about 2 minutes behind with a total time of 37:28:11.

And both agree the 40-kilometer Stage 12 Individual Time Trial in Guimaras on March 2 could be the deciding factor in their two-man showdown.

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 Australian Jai Crawford of the Kinan Cycling Team is the champion of the 8th edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas.Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines — Australia's Jai Crawford gave everything he had in the longest and final stage of Le Tour de Filipinas to emerge as champion of the 8th edition of the race on Tuesday.

Crawford went all out right away in the first 10 kilometers, where he and 6 other riders initiated a breakaway. They held on until after the climb at Tatlong Eme in Atimonan — some 30 kilometers before the finish in Lucena City — to deny 3-day leader Daniel Whitehouse of Great Britain his first International Cycling Union (UCI) triumph.

Crawford, who was unsuccessful with the same Kinan Cycling Team in last year's race, later hinted that he had a lot more left in his 33-year-old legs after the 207.35-kilometer Stage 4 that was flagged off in Daet, Camarines Norte.

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 JAKARTA - Indonesia is targeting an eighth-place finish and 15 gold medals at the Asian Games it hosts next year, a senior minister of the Southeast Asian country has said.

Achieving the medal target would eclipse Indonesia's best-ever haul of 11 golds at the 1962 Games in Jakarta, when the country finished second overall.

"We target an eighth or 10th place in the 2018 Asian Games," coordinating minister for human development and culture Puan Maharani was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

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Filipino figure skater Michael Christian Martinez will lead team Philippines set to compete at the 2017 Asian Winter games in Sapporo, Japan. The figure skating event starts on Feb. 23, 2017.

Other figure skaters joining the 20-year-old Martinez are Shayanne Casapao and Samantha Cabiles for Ladies division and Jules Alpe for the Men’s division.

Both Shayanne and Samantha were Podium finishers during the 2015 national figure skating challenge that paved the way for their slots.

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 Stage 11 winner Rudy Roque is flanked by Navy teammate Jan Paul Morales and Go for Gold's Ronnel Hualda during the awarding ceremonies on Tuesday. Morales and Roque are ranked 1st and 2nd respectively in the overall individual standings of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas. Courtesy of LBC Ronda Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines — Rudy Roque topped the 140-kilometer Stage 11 to close in on solo leader and Navy-Standard Insurance teammate Jan Paul Morales in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas race on Tuesday that started in Calamba, Laguna, and finished at Hinulugang Taktak Road in Antipolo City.

Roque finished with a time of 3 hours, 57 minutes and 38 seconds, followed by Morales and Go for Gold's Ronnel Hualda, who had identical finishing time of 3:59:43.

Roque (37:28:11) is a little more than 2 minutes behind Morales (37:25:56) in the overall individual standings.

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Spanish ace tops Stage 3; Whitehouse hangs on (February 21, 2017)
Kristina Villanueva [ Source: Philippine Star ]

 Spain’s Fernando Grijalba celebrates at the finish. JUN MENDOZA

MANILA, Philippines - DAET, Camarines Norte – Spain’s Fernando Grijalba of Kuwait Cartucho.Es poured it all in the final stretch to take the top podium finish in Stage Three of the eighth Le Tour de Filipinas from Naga to this  Bicol city  yesterday.

Grijalba, ranked third in Stage Two and fourth overall entering the Naga-Daet leg, broke away from the main peloton with nine others to join the four chasers of the lead pack in Bitukang Manok at the 155.99-km mark of the 177.35-km race, its winding road providing the challenge in an otherwise monotonous, mostly flat route.

Grijalba and his group eventually caught up with the lead pack with the Spanish rider unleashing a strong finishing kick to win in 4:14:03, the same time logged by 11 others.

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