Morales breaks away to rule Ronda stage 3
SUBIC—Jan Paul Morales completed a daring solo breakaway finish to rule the third stage of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas and move closer to the overall lead.
Morales, who rides for Navy-Standard Insurance, cut loose on the first climbing challenge of the day and never looked back to reach this former US naval base in three hours, 25 minutes and 46 seconds after the 137-kilometer hilly ride from Angeles City.
“I’ve trained hard to improve my climbing skills. When I saw the chance, I immediately broke away from the pack,” said the 31-year-old track specialist from Calumpang, Marikina.
Morales, the Stage 2 winner in Vigan, left the lead pack and sped away in the last 20 kilometers, an effort that catapulted him to third overall from 16th at the start of the day.
Though Navy teammate Rudy Roque still holds the red jersey of leadership, Morales, last year’s top Ronda performer, is only 1:34 away.
Ronald Lomotos, another Navy rider, stayed at second, 20 ticks behind Roque while Ismael Grospe Jr. of Go For Gold was fourth, 2:28 back.
Jemico Brioso of Team Ilocos Sur placed second in the lap, Leonel Dimaano finished third and Cris Joven of Kinetix-Lab Philippine Army wound up fourth, each of them 2:46 slower than Morales.
Today’s Subic to Subic fourth stage (111km) presents another demanding climbing challenge at the Bataan National Park in Morong that the Navymen should hurdle to control the race.
“That stage is more difficult than this one. I have to be in top shape tomorrow,” said Morales.
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