Oranza out to defend lead
ILOILO CITY—Ronald Oranza looks to protect the general classification overall lead at all costs and his Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance teammates have solidly committed to that cause.
Wearing the red jersey, Oranza tries to keep the symbol of leadership at the resumption of the 2016 LBC Ronda Pilipinas Visayas leg in another criterium race Sunday.
“We’ll try to hold onto it as best as we can,” said the perennial contender in his quest for a first Tour title.
Stage 2 will be a high-speed 2.68-kilometer pursuit on Megaworld boulevard here where the cyclists negotiate the course for an hour plus three laps to determine the winner.
“The key here is to control the race and set him (Oranza) up for a strong finish,” said Navy skipper Lloyd Lucien Reynante.
They will be challenged by Team LBC/MVP riders Rustom Lim, Ronald Lomotos, Julius Mark Bonzo and George Oconer, last year’s Ronda runner-up.
Lim placed third in the opening stage in Bago City, Negros Occidental after arriving almost simultaneously with Navy’s Rudy Roque, who crossed the line right after Oranza.
Overall, Oranza compiled 15 points while Roque and Lim had 13 and 11. The top rider at the end of the five-stage race in Roxas City on Thursday captures the title.
Track specialist Jan Paul Morales, who won the GC in Mindanao, and Joel Calderon, the 2009 Le Tour champ, are also out to ruin the Navy men’s bid.