Army’s Joven resumes his chase of Ronda leaders
LUCENA CITY—Cris Joven may be the rider to watch out for here, but the 30-year-old veteran believes everyone has a shot on Sunday, LBC Ronda Pilipinas’ longest race day.
“That leg is the most punishing to the body,” said Joven in Filipino during Saturday’s rest day here.
Eighty-eight riders, of the 96 who started, used the off day not just to recuperate after four gruelling stages but also to prepare themselves for the 151-kilometer fifth stage from here to Pili, Camarines Sur.
It’s not only the longest of the 14 legs but also one that will pass through the legendary Tatlong Eme in Atimonan, Quezon, with its treacherous zigzag road up and down Quezon National Forest Park.
It will end inside the famous CamSure Watersports Complex.
“It’s still a long way to go. The roads will become harder and harder,” added the Kinetix Lab-Army ace. Joven took a year-long hiatus to undergo training in the Philippine Army.
On Thursday’s Stage 4 in Subic, he ate up minutes from the leaders’ edge when he sprinted to the finish to win the stage.
Joven has total time of 11 hours, 16 minutes and 48 seconds—four and a half minutes behind Navy-Standard Insurance rivals Rudy Roque and Jan Paul Morales.
“They are tough and have been training for a long duration,” said Joven. “But I was trained as a soldier. I need to keep firing and hit the enemy.”