Navy riders continue to dominate Ronda Visayas Leg

ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 15, 2016 04:32 PM
Navy riders continue to dominate Ronda Visayas Leg
Navy-Standard Insurance riders continue to dominate Ronda Pilipinas Visayas Leg.

ROXAS CITY --- Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance claimed another lap victory to inch closer to his first race win in Tuesday’s Stage Three of the Visayas Leg of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016 that started in Iloilo City and ended in front of the Robinson's Mall here.

Oranza, 22, clocked three hours, 15 minutes and 53.53 seconds in this 121.5-kilometer stage that pushed him closer to topping the Visayas Leg as he now has 43 general individual classification points, eight points ahead of Navy teammate Rudy Roque, who has 35 points.

"I really pushed hard in this stage because I really want to win," said Oranza, who topped the opening stage in Bago City, Negros Occidental Friday and finished second to Roque in Stage Two in Iloilo City Sunday.

Seasoned Navy skipper Lloyd Lucien Reynante crossed second in 3:16:39.26 while 2009 Tour champion Joel Calderon ended up No. 3 in 3:16: 57.21 to complete an all-Navy finish at the podium.

The day though belonged to Oranza, who hails from Villasis in Philippine cycling meccah Pangasinan, as has now owned seven lap wins but never the big one.

His long wait could end in a few days.

"I can't wait," said Oranza, whose best finish in this annual cycling race considered the biggest in the country today was third behind eventual winner Irish Valenzuela in the third edition three years ago.

Roque, who was tied with Oranza before the stage, fell to second and eight points off the pace.

Navy's Jan Paul Morales, the Mindanao Leg champion, went on attack mode early as he broke away from the peloton, took the King of the Mountain and two intermediate sprint races of the stage and led for 75 kilometers.

But the strong winds wore him down and slowly but surely slowed down after the Oranza-led chase pack caught up with him in the final 20-km stretch.

The Calumpang, Marikina native wound up eighth in the stage and slid to share of No. 3 with Reynante in the overall race with 20 apiece.

Rounding up the overall top 10 were Navy's El Joshua Carino (19), LBC-MVP Sports Foundation's Ronald Lomotos (19), Navy's Joel Calderon (18), LBC-MVPSF's Rustom Lim (15), Navy's John Mark Camingao (11) and LBC-MVPSF's Mark Julius Bonzo (11).

LBC-MVPSF's George Oconer, one of the cyclists favored to win here being the second placer to last year's eventual winner Santy Barnachea, finally bared teeth after a disappointing first two stages but still ended up No. 6.

That effort somehow pushed him near the top 10 as he is now at No. 11 with nine points.

In contrast, Oranza and the unstoppable Navymen are in cruise control.

"If we could just race with discipline and help each other, nothing could stop him from taking this Visayas Leg," said Reynante referring to Oranza.

Stages Four and Five, which will be an Individual Time Trial and a criterium, are both set here Thursday.

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