The event, though an exhibition, witnessed relentless efforts from cycling legends. Notably, Tadej Pogačar, Peter Sagan, and Chris Froome from Israel-Premier Tech showcased their prowess, right from the outset. They engaged in riveting breaks and fiercely competed for intermediate sprints.
Peter Sagan, the proud owner of seven Škoda Green Jerseys from the Tour de France, clinched the points classification title. This comes after his recent retirement from road racing, hinting at his plans to venture into off-road competitions in the forthcoming year.
Post-race, Philipsen commented, “I’m still feeling good. It was only two weeks ago that I did my last race in Tour of Turkey and of course, it’s not an official race but maybe it counts as 20. The roads are really technical as always in a city centre circuit and the temperature was really hot here in Singapore, but my team did a great job to get back Tadej [Pogačar] in the final lap and we were happy we could still take him.”
The weekend in Singapore was abuzz with cycling activities. Leading up to the main event, there was a team time trial dominated by the UAE Team Emirates. Additionally, several fan-centric events, including amateur races and charity rides, amplified the festive atmosphere.
Highlighting some of the eventful moments, Chris Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion, briefly led with three others before UAE Team Emirates intervened. Later, a significant break featured Victor Lafay from Cofidis and Brandon Rivera from Ineos Grenadiers. This group was overtaken with 13km left. Subsequently, Vuelta a España champion Sepp Kuss from Jumbo-Visma, Pogačar, and Giulio Ciccone from Lidl-Trek took the lead.
Pogačar’s solo effort during the final laps was commendable, but he was eventually caught up. The climax saw Sagan assisting Cavendish in the last stretch. However, Philipsen’s final push proved unbeatable.
Philipsen’s achievement in Singapore adds to his already impressive tally for 2023, with 19 wins, including four from the Tour de France. His consistency and prowess have solidified his reputation as the premier sprinter of the year.