Old champion Davadilla tops mass Stage 6 finish
TARLAC CITY—Warren Davadilla summoned the old spring from his legs that had earned him two Tour championships to seize the abbreviated Stage 6 of the 2011 LBC Ronda Pilipinas Sunday.
Davadilla, who turns 37 Monday, flashed home first at the end of a furious mass sprint to capture his 15th career stage victory in what could be his farewell race in a multi-stage bikathon.
He punched the air with both fists after nosing out sprinter Ericson Obosa of 7-Eleven and American Vinyl’s Ronnel Hualda in the first mass finish of the 12-leg bikathon.
The trio, along with 80 others from the surviving field of 91, posted identical clockings of one hour, 33 minutes and 10 seconds for the 136.7-kilometer route that was flagged off in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Organizers abandoned the original start from Malolos and reduced the course to 76 kilometers due to the flooded sections of MacArthur Highway caused by Typhoon “Pedring.”
“I was down with the flu before the race but still managed to pull through,” said Davadilla, Tour champion in 1998 and 2005, in Filipino.
The airman first class actually rode with broken rear spokes 200 meters to the finish but held on to win the P50,000 top lap prize.
“I’ve been riding for 15 years and I guess next year I won’t be here anymore,” said Davadilla.
The race for individual supremacy stood still with Nueva Ecija’s Joel Calderon retaining the overall leader’s red jersey for the fourth consecutive day after compiling a total time of 19:21:28.
George Oconer, the 19-year-old son of 1992 Barcelona Olympian Norberto, remained 14 seconds off the pace followed by 7-Eleven’s Irish Valenzuela (1:36 behind), American Vinyl’s Rudy Roque (2:24) and Santy Barnachea of East Pangasinan (4:05).
“All eyes are on me. I’ll just defend it (red jersey) as long as I can,” said Calderon, the 2009 Tour winner.
Rounding out the top 10 contenders for the P1-million individual purse were Arnel Quirimit (5:46), Alvin Benosa (6:14), Baler Ravina (7:21), Cris Joven (7:37), Lloyd Reynante (7:54), and Jay Bop Pagnanawon (8:05) and Davadilla (9:04).
Calderon headed a four-man breakaway group that included John Mier of PhilCycling U-23, Joven and Valenzuela, just a few minutes after the firing of the starter’s gun before a big wave of riders reeled them in with 7 km left of the relatively flat course.
Monday’s 142.4 km stage from this home city of President Aquino features a short 1 km uphill trek 10 km after the race midpoint, before the riders head for the seaside town of San Fernando, La Union.
Stage 8 has the same need for speed for all of 129.63 km going to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, giving Calderon a chance to successfully defend the leadership over the next two days ahead of the Tour’s mountain stages.
“I’ll just try to keep it close and hopefully get the break in the mountain stages,” said Oconer, team captain of the PhilCycling U23 developmental squad.
American Vinyl, general team classification leader since Day 2, also expects to stay in front of 7-Eleven and Nueva Ecija prior to the Vigan-Baguio ascent in Stage 9 where the standings are expected to change drastically.
Ronda Pilipinas ends with an easy ride from Angeles City to Manila on October 9.
Individual general classification:
1. Calderon, Joel NVE 19:21:26; 2. Oconer, George U23 00:14; 3. Valenzuela, Irish 7EL 1:36; 4. Roque, Rudy AVL 2:24; 5. Santy Barnachea EPN 4:05; 6. Quirimit, Arnel PJS 5:46; 7. Benosa, Alvin BIC 6:14; 8. Ravina, Baler EPN 7:21; 9. Joven, Cris AVL 7:37; 10. Reynante, Lloyd 7EL 7:54; 11. Pagnanawon, Jay Bop CBU 8:05; 12. Davadilla, Warren NCR 9:06; 13. Feliciano, Frederick NCR 9:18; 14. Aleonar, March CEX 10:38; 15. Gorantes, Ronald NCR 13:31; 16. Rendole, Oscar NVE 14:07; 17. Ricafort, John BIC 14:13; 18. Hualda, Ronnel AVL 14:21; 19. Martin Rey NVE 14:36; 20. Ramos, Francisco TRC 15:05
General Team Classification
1. American Vinyl 58:17:12; 2. 7-Eleven 5:59; 3. Nueva Ecija 13:09; 4. NCR 20:57; 5. WC Pangasinan 23:24; 6. Tarlac 25:32; 7. Cebu 26:07; 8. Bicolandia 28:26; 9. Eastern Pangasinan 34:47; 10. Ilocos Sur 47:48; 11. PhilCycling U23 53:32; 12. Cycleline Extreme 53:35; 13. Southern Tagalog 1:23:53; 14. Negros 1:31:23; 15. Davao 1:43:26; 16. Cagayan Valley 3:54:37.
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