Hong Kong's Wong Kam-po, conserving his energy for the gruelling hill climbs which lie ahead, began his defence of the Centennial Tour of the Philippines by finishing 13th in yesterday's four-kilometre prologue in Cebu. Wong, who became the first foreign rider in 42 years to win the Philippines Tour last year, finished 18.97 seconds behind prologue winner Virgilio Durain of Mindanao, although the Hong Kong rider was clearly in no hurry to show his worth in the Marlboro-sponsored event just yet. 'The Tour has only just started and Wong has a lot of work ahead of him. He will find it harder this year because the Chinese national team are competing in the Tour for the first time,' said Hong Kong Cycling Association senior sport executive Walter Yue. Mountain-bike specialist Durain pushed hard in the last 100 metres to narrowly win the prologue to the 2,494-kilometre Tour. 'I did not expect to win. I hope I can keep the yellow jersey after tomorrow's race,' said Durain, who placed seventh in the Asian mountain biking championship held in nearby Danao City last November. 'I joined the Marlboro Tour just to gain more endurance,' added Durain, a former bike mechanic from Butuan City in Mindanao. China's Tang Xuezhong, who was pipped by Wong for the gold medal at last year's China National Games, finished second in 5:02.95, while Malaysia's Kumaresan Murugaya was third in 5:11.03. Li Sai-hong was the second quickest Hong Kong rider, finishing in 41st place, 31.67 seconds off the pace. Ho Siu-lan took 53rd place, ahead of Man Wai-chung (60th), Kan Koon-hang (66th) and Ng Kwok-wah (79th). China powered their way to the top of the team classification thanks to the fourth and sixth placed finishes by Yechen Xiao and Guangchun Pan, respectively. China are ahead of Malaysia and the Philippines, while Hong Kong are in 10th position. The first stage will be over 190.3 kilometres from Cebu to the northern town of Bogo and back.