SEAG vet rules Stage 4; Ravina keeps top spotBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SURIGAO CITY—Track specialist Jan Paul Morales used his speed to dominate a mass sprint finish in Stage 4 even as Baler Ravina easily retained the overall lead of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas bikathon.
Morales, who copped two bronze medals in last year’s Southeast Asian Games, clocked three hours, one minute and 51.9 seconds in nosing out Ericson Obosa and Stage 1 red-jersey holder Orlie Villanueva to secure his first career lap victory.
Obosa, a Tour veteran who rides for Road Bike Philippines, and Villanueva of V-Mobile and 63 other riders, including Ravina, Cris Joven of LPGMA-American Vinyl and defending champion Santy Barnachea, had the same time as Morales for the short 118-km drive from Butuan City.
“There was no time for practice because of my hectic schedule with the Navy,” said Morales, 26, a seaman second class.
“I’m a sprinter and I generally do well in this kind of course,” added the Philippine Navy/Standard Insurance mainstay, who was 18th overall in his Ronda debut last year.
Overall, Ravina, the top Filipino cyclist in the Asian UCI rankings at No. 33, kept his 30-second lead over Oscar Rindole of V-Mobile, 49 ticks clear of Joven, 1:16 ahead of V-Mobile’s Rey Martin and 1:37 in front of Tarlac’s Joseph Millanes.
“It’s difficult to be in red, they won’t let you slip away,” said Ravina, a three-time king of the mountain and champion of the four-stage Le Tour de Filipinas last month, in Filipino.
Tots Oledan (1:40), Mark Galedo (1:43), Dexter Nonato (1:51), 2003 champion Arnel Quirimit (1:54) and Ronald Gorantes (2:03) remained stuck to their respective positions from sixth to 10th in the P1-million individual race.
The 96-rider field gets a chance to recharge following a break today after four days of riding in Mindanao. The entourage takes a ferry to Liloan in Southern Leyte then motors to Ormoc City for tomorrow’s start of Stage 5 covering 146.6 km of largely flat roads going to Tacloban.
Contenders Joel Calderon, George Oconer, who placed third last year, and Barnachea continued to bide their time, waiting for the crucial hilly stages in Quezon province (Stage 8) and Rizal (Stage 9).
Barnachea is still 3:10 off the pace, Oconer, son of former Olympian and trackster Norberto Oconer, remains 4:05 behind while Calderon, last year’s runner-up, stays 4:10 back at 19th.
Stage Individual Classification: 1. Morales, Jan Paul (PNS) 3:01:51.9, 2. Obosa, Ericson (RBP) same time, 3. Villanueva, Orlie (VMB) same time, 4. Oledan, Tots (MDN) same time, 5. Hualda, Ronnel (AMV) same time, 6. Catalan, Alfie (PAR) same time, 7. Oconer, George (RPT) same time, 8. Pagnanawon, Jaybop (YFM) same time, 9. Davadilla, Warren (MML) same time, 10. Joven, Cris (AMV) same time, 11. Roque, Rudy (AMV) same time, 12. Malangsa, Rodolfo (NSM) same time, 13. Camingao, John Mark (RBP) same time, 14. Nonato, Dexter (MDN) same time, 15. Sicam, Harvey (EPN) same time, 16. Ramos, Merculio (OTL) same time, 17. Aquino, Jerry (SLB) same time, 18. Carrera, Sherwin (WCP) same time, 19. Ramos, Francisco (OTL) same time, 20. Marcelo, Arnold (PAR) same time; Overall Individual Classification: 1. Ravina, Baler (RBP) 17:22:25, 2. Rindole, Oscar (VMB) 0:30, 3. Joven, Cris (AMV) 0:49, 4. Martin, Rey (VMB) 1:16, 5. Millanes, Joseph (OTL) 1:37, 6. Oledan, Tots (MDN) 1:40, 7. Galedo, Mark (RBP) 1:43, 8. Nonato, Dexter (MDN) 1:51, 9. Quirimit, Arnel (WCP) 1:54, 10. Gorantes, Ronald (MML) 2:03, 11. Sicam, Harvey (EPN) 2:46, 12. Asto, Daniel (OTL) same time, 13. Asuncion, Alfredo (VMB) 2:59, 14. Navarro, Reynaldo (WCP) 3:05, 15. Barnachea, Santy (PNS) 3:10, 16. Martinez, Tomas (OTL) 3:36, 17. Oconer, George (RPT) 4:05, 18. Bonzo, Julius (RPT) 4:06, 19, Calderon, Joel (VMB) 4:10, 20. Quinones, Eusebio (PNS) 4:55