Felipe seizes 2nd stage of Ronda Pilipinas | Inquirer Sports

Felipe seizes 2nd stage of Ronda Pilipinas

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 03:27 AM February 13, 2015

BACOLOD CITY—Novo Ecijano Marcelo Felipe showed his climbing prowess Thursday and calmly conquered the most punishing climbs in the second stage of the Visayas qualifying leg of the 2015 Ronda Pilipinas.

Felipe, a member of the 7-Eleven/Road Bike Philippines, soloed it home in five hours, 2 minutes and 12 seconds after the 156.6-kilometer trek that began and ended in this City of Smiles internationally renowned for its annual Masskara Festival.

Boots Ryan Cayubit, Felipe’s teammate, placed second, 2 minutes 13 seconds behind, and seized the red jersey of overall leadership from Stage 1 winner Jaybop Pagnanawon.

Cayubit, who started the day in fifth place, now held a 3:10 lead over Felipe and a 5:28 margin over Nueva Ecija’s Rey Nelson Martin.

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Pagnanawon, son of 1986 Marlboro Tour champion Rolando Pagnanawon, struggled in the three Category 2 ascents in Don Salvador Benedicto and bombed out of the top 10 by coming home more than 20 minutes behind Felipe.

Reimon Lapaza, the 2014 Ronda champion, was a surprise entry in the three-stage qualifier and placed third in the stage, 5:56 back.

“I just accompanied my younger brother (Cesar Lapaza Jr.) in the race and at the same time train,” said the 28-year-old from Butuan City.

Lapaza said he would dedicate his title defense to the late Vicmar Vicente, his teammate at Cycleline Butuan who died last year after being sideswiped by a truck in Tagaytay City.

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Daniel Ven Carino topped the 110.5 km juniors category in 4:09:40. Gilbert Enarciso was a close second with Edalson Ellorem third, 11:13 back.

Felipe slowly pulled away from a four-man lead pack in the first of three climbs for the day and then bravely sprinted downhill to set up the solo finish.

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“I saw the opportunity right on the first climb and took the chance,” said the 25-year-old from Llanera, Nueva Ecija.

Today’s finale is a 123.2 km high-speed race on the rolling plains of Talisay City, Victorias and Cadiz City.

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The top 54 finishers—50 elite riders and four junior—will advance to the Tour proper starting in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Feb. 22 and ending in Baguio on Feb. 28 along with the 34 qualifiers from the Luzon leg.

TAGS: 7-Eleven, Marcelo Felipe, Ronda Pilipinas, Sports

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