Morales takes red jersey
UNISAN, QUEZON—While everybody was watching out for overall leader Rudy Roque in the main peloton, Jay Lampawog made a daring breakaway while Jan Paul Morales stormed in the final 30 kilometers to take the red jersey Friday.
The three Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance riders figured prominently in the eighth stage of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas—one that featured inclement weather, bad road conditions and perilous winding highways over 180 kilometers.
The 19-year-old Lampawog bolted out to take the stage, thundering solo to the finish in four hours, 49 minutes and 49 seconds and more than one minute ahead of the chase pack led by Morales.
His daring move became possible when the red jersey chasers headed by Cris Joven of Kinetix Lab-Army and youngster Jonel Carcueva of Go For Gold focused on guarding Roque in the main group.
“They were all busy guarding Roque, and I told myself that I would be tied up with them so I decided to make a run for it,” said the Villasis, Pangasinan, native, the 2015 Best Young Rider.
Morales, the defending champion, is now 1:53 ahead of Roque and 4:14 of another teammate Ronald Lomotos, while Carcueva leapfrogged from 10th to fourth, just 5:03 behind.
Joven is fifth, 5:08 off the leader.
“We executed our game plan which is for me to take charge when Roque is guarded,” said Morales, who held on to his belief that his teammate is ripe for the trophy despite ruling the last two grueling stages. “I think I can defend it well (red jersey) but I think it’s Roque’s time now. He still has a lot to show.”
But so does the 31-year-old Morales, who showed no trace of exhaustion a day after conquering the 227-km seventh stage in Daet, Camarines Norte.
In fact, he says he has no need for rest days.
“Given the choice I don’t want any break because I feel I am in good condition, and I don’t want to lose [momentum],” said the Marikina native.
Morales towed five others in the second pack, finishing 1:10 behind Lampawog in the stage.