Morales tries to pad Ronda lead in pet ITT Thursday
MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon—Jan Paul Morales tries to preserve his lead in a race against the clock at the resumption of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016 Mindanao leg Thursday in this quaint town on the highlands of Mount Kitanglad.
The sprinter from Navy-Standard Insurance hopes to protect his 10-point advantage over title contenders and fellow Navymen Lloyd Lucien Reynante and Ronald Oranza in Stage 4—a rolling 21.7-kilometer individual time trial in Barangay San Miguel here.
Should Morales keep the red jersey, the race will most likely be reduced to a ceremonial victory ride for the Marikina ace in another criterium on the fifth and final stage Saturday in Malaybalay.
“I have to maintain the momentum that I’ve built over the last three stages,” said Morales, an ITT specialist who could sustain flashing speed in long stretches.
Going into this penultimate lap, Morales remains on top with 39 points after winning the third stage and placing second behind Oranza in the first two laps in Butuan.
The 2011 Southeast Asian Games track double-bronze medalist earned eight points in the king of the mountain challenge behind KOM leader Reynante and three points in two intermediate sprints during the opening lap.
“I’ll try to avoid trouble and make it a smooth ride,” said Morales.
Reynante has 29 points, followed by Oranza with 27, Daniel Ven Carino and Rudy Roque at fourth overall with 25 while 2009 Tour champion Joel Calderon was sixth with 14 points.
Stage five is a 158.32 km massed start contest in Malaybalay.
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