Oranza rules Ronda opener anew
BAGO CITY, Negros Occidental—Ronald Oranza kicked off the 2016 LBC Ronda Pilipinas Visayas leg in the same manner he started the Mindanao race two weeks ago.
The rider from Navy-Standard Insurance sneaked out of the speeding pack in the final straightaway and ruled the opening stage that was fired off and finished in front of Manuel Y. Torre Coliseum and Cultural Center here.
“I saw the chance to break away and took it,” said Oranza, who also won the first stage of the five-stage Mindanao leg.
The veteran racer from Villasis, Pangasinan, punched the air as he crossed the line in the scorching heat in one hour, nine minutes and 23 seconds.
Rudy Roque, Oranza’s teammate, gave chase in the last 100 meters of the 46.95-kilometer criterium race and finished second with Rustom Lim of Team LBC/MVP winding up third, both a split second behind the stage winner.
They were part of a seven-man lead pack that included seasoned riders Ronald Lomotos, 2009 Tour champion Joel Calderon, rookies Daniel Ven Carino and Richard Nebres of Mati, Davao del Norte, who later figured in a crash after hitting Calderon’s back wheel with 500 meters left.
Mindanao leg champion Jan Paul Morales of Standard Insurance checked in seventh, a second slower than Oranza, along with a huge wave of riders, including Navy team captain Lloyd Lucien Reynante, LBC/MVP’s Julius Mark Bonzo and George Oconer, last year’s general classification runner-up.
Another criterium is in store for the 34 riders in Iloilo City on Sunday.