Christie takes 3; tough rides up in Ronda Pilipinas | Inquirer Sports
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Christie takes 3; tough rides up in Ronda Pilipinas

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 12:51 AM February 10, 2014

DAGUPAN CITY—In sweltering conditions, New Zealand’s Jason Christie became the winningest rider of the Ronda Pilipinas 2014 yesterday by topping the eighth stage, a day before the brutal test in the mountains begins.

Mark Galedo of 7-Eleven Continental Cycling Team retained the overall leader’s red jersey for the third straight day by floating with the main pack in the mostly flat 197.3-kilometer trip from Tarlac City that was tailor-made for sprinters.

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Christie of CCN Continental Team bolted ahead of the pack in the last 3 km and soloed it home in four hours, 34 minutes and 42 seconds.

“It’s the longest stage, so I waited for the right time to attack,” said Christie, New Zealand’s national road race champion who earlier seized the opening stage in Quezon City and the sixth stage in Antipolo City. “I might not get another lap win after this one.”

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Rustom Lim of PLDT Maynilad placed second and Taiwanese sprinter Hsiao Shih-hsin wound up third after towing home—22 seconds after Christie—a large wave of riders that included Galedo and the rest of the contenders.

Galedo, a two-time Tour winner, kept his 14-second lead over surprise contender Riemon Lapaza of Cycleline Butuan Mindanao with 7-Eleven teammate Mark Julius Bordeos clinging to third, 2:26 behind.

“I have to conserve energy for tomorrow’s (today) decisive race,” said Galedo, the 2012 Ronda winner.

Three mountain stages, which usually prove decisive in previous bikathons, have been laid out in Baguio City in the next few days.

Three-time Tour champion Santy Barnachea remained fourth, 3:08 behind, Marcelo Felipe of Road Bike Philippines stood fifth, 3:56 back, followed by Ronald Oranza of PLDT Maynilad (4:45 behind), Navy’s George Oconer (4:54), French climber Peter Pouly of Infinite-Singha (5:40), Cycleline’s Vicmar Vicente (6:52) and Army’s Reynaldo Navarro (7:35).

Defending champion Irish Valenzuela stayed 14th overall, 8:31 off the pace, after the Philippine Army skipper opted to stick with the peloton in the flat roads of Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan.

“There’s still hope,” said Valenzuela, a two-time Ronda King of the Mountain. “You can never tell what’s going to happen in the mountains.”

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Monday’s Stage 9 is a grueling 102.1 km trek to Baguio from this Pangasinan city famous for its tasty, small milkfish.

The final climb of 1,570 meters going to Baguio Convention Center via Kennon Road is super steep that organizers said it goes beyond the highest measurable mountain category.

After a rest day on Tuesday, more backbreaking rides await the 68 riders.

Stage 10 is an up-and-down 88.5 km criterium in the summer capital’s main avenues while Stage 11 is another torturous 95.8 km ascent, this time from San Fernando, La Union, to the City of Pines via Marcos Highway.

“I can still be in red (shirt) after the crucial legs with the help of my teammates and through superb conditioning,” said Galedo, who first made a name as champion of the nine-day Tour of Luzon in 2009.

Entering the decisive stages, 7-Eleven still led Philippine Navy by 6:06 in the race for the P1-million team prize with Cycleline Butuan third overall, 8:46 behind.

The 14-stage Ronda, presented by LBC and sponsored by MVP Sports Foundation, Mitsubishi, Petron, NLEX, Maynilad, Standard Insurance, PLDT, Versa and Air Asia, ends on Feb. 16 in Marikina City.

Stage Individual Classification

1. Christie, Jason (CCN) 4:34:42, 2. Lim, Rustom (PMP) 0:22 behind, 3. Hsiao Shih Hsin (GCT) same time, 4. Lomotos, Ronald (PMP) same time, 5. Oconer, George (PNS) same time, 6. Catalan, Alfie (PAR) same time, 7. Ramos, Merculio (CBM) same time, 8. Breewel, Jeroen (DGT) same time, 9. Atilano, Emelito (CAF) same time, 10. Botman, Wim (DGT) same time.

Overall Individual Classification

1. Galedo, Mark (7EL) 29:24:30, 2. Lapaza, Riemon (CBM) 0:14 behind, 3. Bordeos, Mark Julius (7EL) 2:26, 4. Barnachea, Santy (PNS) 3:08, 5. Felipe, Marcelo (RBP) 3:56, 6. Oranza, Ronald (PMP) 4:45, 7. Oconer, George (PNS) 4:55, 8. Pouly, Peter (ISC) 5:40, 9. Vicente, Vicmar (CBM) 6:52, 10. Navarro, Reynaldo (PAR) 7:35

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TAGS: Cycling, Irish Valenzuela, jason christie, Mark Galedo, New Zealand, Ronda Pilipinas, Sports
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