Lloyd Reynante rules; Joel Calderon rises
CATICLAN, Aklan—Lloyd Lucien Reynante, a feared rider in the hills, came out the fastest in the day’s flattest leg Wednesday.
The former champion’s son aching to follow his father’s footsteps, Reynante broke away from the lead pack and soloed it home in Stage 3 of the 2011 LBC Ronda Pilipinas here.
Reynante’s victory boosted the 7-11 rider in the top 10 of the overall classification, which has a new leader in Nueva Ecija skipper Joel Calderon.
Coming home with the main pack, Calderon snatched the red jersey of leadership with a lead of one minute and 26 seconds over George Oconer, as erstwhile pacesetter Santy Barnachea arrived 44th for the day.
Reynante caught up with a weary lead pack in the final 15 kilometers, broke away during a brief mountain climb, and came home in four hours, 37 minutes and eight seconds for the 190.5 km stage from Iloilo.
His teammate, Irish Valenzuela, followed him home, 46.7 seconds later, while NCR skipper Frederick Feliciano was third, 48 ticks off.
“I wasn’t planning to take it (the red jersey) early in the race; I had planned to make a move in Baguio,” said the 31-year-old Calderon in Filipino. “But I guess I’m in good condition. So I will have to defend it from now on.”
Rudy Roque of American Vinyl rose to third overall, 37 seconds behind, followed by Barnachea of East Pangasinan, former champ Arnel Quirimit, Stage 2 winner Cris Joven, Valenzuela, Jay Bop Pagnanawon of Cebu, two-time titlist Warren Davadilla and Reynante.
Calderon, who is grateful for the support of Allan Enciso of the sponsoring Mileage Guimba, Agnes Bakeshop and Guimba Mayor Boyito Dizon, won in 2009 after snatching the overall lead from Barnachea in the eighth stage.
Oconer, son of former Olympian Norberto, rallied from fourth overall while bagging the young rider of the stage for three straight stages.
It was Reynante’s first stage win since topping the Vigan-to-Baguio stage of the 2007 Tour. The son of 1977 and 1980 champion Manuel Reynante said they can’t launch an attack in the flat roads as “everybody was focused against us.”
So when the lead pack kept watch on Valenzuela, Reynante made the daring breakway.
The 32-year-old Reynante, who has had two runner-up finishes in the Tour, said there is pressure coming from everywhere.
“When you are a son of a champion, there is always pressure on you to win,” added the 9th placer in the recent Tour le Brunei where his team finished third overall.