Team champ bucks slow startBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ORMOC CITY—Off to a slow start, LPGMA-American Vinyl isn’t going to let its title defense of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas team crown slip away without a fight.
From 12th overall in the opening stage in General Santos City last week, the multititled cycling club owned by LPGMA party-list Rep. Arnel Ty and businessman Eric Sy has been grinding it out to get back into contention for the P1-million team champion’s purse.
Leading them in their quest are Stage 2 winner Cris Joven and Rustom Lim, who finished second in Stage 3.
The efforts of these riders, plus the support of team captain Irish Valenzuela, Ronnel Hualda, Rudy Roque and Edmundo Nicolas have pushed LPGMA-American Vinyl to 11th after the second lap from GenSan to Davao City and eighth overall after the fourth stage from Butuan City to Surigao.
From a confidence-deflating deficit of more than 17 minutes, the team has cut the gap and is now 14:43 seconds behind overall team pacesetter V-Mobile.
“It was a bad start but we’re not backing down,” said Renato Dolosa, who also steered the club to the 2009 Le Tour de Filipinas and 2010 Tour of Luzon titles. “We’ll inch our way into contention one stage at a time.”
A two-time Tour champion himself, Dolosa explained that all his riders, except Joven, suffered cramps during the 183.3 km opening stage from GenSan to Kiamba, Sarangani, and back.
“Those things normally happen at the start,” said Dolosa. “But I believe my riders are peaking at the right time.”