Taiwan rider rules; Joven stays in front
SAN PABLO CITY—Taiwanese rider Feng Chun-kai ruled the third stage of the Ronda Pilipinas 2014 Monday, beating Nelson Martin of Road Bike Philippines in a frenetic sprint to the finish for his first career stage victory.
Cris Joven of 7-Eleven Continental Team kept the red jersey after nestling safely in the main pack for most of the rolling 144.4-kilometer course from Amadeo, Cavite. Feng, who rides for Gusto Continental Team, punched the air as he crossed the line in three hours, 27 minutes and 48 seconds.
“Honestly, I lack the preparation for this Tour,” said the 25-year-old Taiwan national road race champion. “But I love to break away and did so when I saw the chance.”
Martin wheeled out in front of the five-man lead pack in the final 2 km before Feng gave chase and then passed him to win by two seconds.
Rustom Lim of PLDT Maynilad arrived third, 25 seconds behind Feng, after seizing the only King of the Mountain challenge on the fringes of Mount Maculot, a climber’s paradise in Cuenca, Batangas, some 50 km to this bustling city.
The top of the overall standings hardly moved at all with Joven still ahead of Riemon Lapaza of Cycleline Butuan Mindanao by two seconds, with Frenchman Peter Pouly of Infinite Singha 1:35 behind, Oscar Rindole of Cebu-Kalit Air Force in fourth (3:20) followed by Road Bike’s Marcelo Felipe (3:44).
“I just floated with the peloton along with the other contenders,” said Joven, the all-rounder from Iriga City, Camarines Sur, who placed fifth overall in the 2012 Ronda.
Today’s fourth stage to Lucena City promises another high-speed finish with only a pair of low-grade climbs slowing down the field halfway through the 110 km route.
A cluster of nine riders launched an attack 3 km after the start with Spanish rider Edgar Nieto of Road Bike masterfully guiding the lead through a difficult descent in Nasugbu, Batangas, and controlling the pace going to the only climb of the day.
They rode as one for about 132 km until Feng, Nieto, Martin, Lim and Army’s Marvin Tapic accelerated with 8 km left in Alaminos, Laguna, leaving the veterans Lloyd Reynante, Merculio Ramos and Rindole behind.
In a bold move, with less than a kilometer to go, Feng powered to the front of the pack through the crowded streets of San Pablo, setting up the stage for victory worth P30,000.
Race organizers decided to amend the clocking of Galedo and put him back in contention after the two-time Tour titlist made a wrong turn along with four other riders less than 25 km from the Silang, Cavite, finish in Sunday’s Stage 2.
The 16-stage Ronda, presented by LBC and backed by Petron, Mitsubishi, Standard Insurance, PLDT, MVP Sports Foundation, NLEX, Maynilad, Versa, Cannondale and Air Asia Zest, ends on Feb. 16 in Marikina.
Stage Individual Classification: 1. Feng Chun-kai (GCT) 3:27:48; 2. Nelson Martin (RBP) 0:02; 3. Rustom Lim (PMP) 0:25; 4. Marvin Tapic (PAR) same time; 5. Edgar Nieto (RBP) same time; 6. Jae Yeon-im (UJB) 1:04; 7. Kwang Deuk-pyeon (UJB) 1:05; 8. George Oconer (PNS) same time; 9. Ronald Lomotos (PMP) same time; 10. Vincent Ang Ching-yong (ISC) same time Overall Individual Classification: 1. Cris Joven (7EL) 10:36:27; 2. Riemon Lapaza (CBM) 0:02; 3. Peter Pouly (ISC) 1:35; 4. Oscar Rindole (CAF) 3:20; 5. Marcelo Felipe (RBP) 3:44; 6. Vicmar Vicente (CBM) 3:52; 7. Mark Galedo (7EL) 3:53; 8. Santy Barnachea (PNS) 4:29; 9. Daiki Yasuhara (MPT) 4:32; 10. Ronald Oranza (PMP) 4:38.