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Ronda resumes today

02:33 AM March 02, 2017
Team Navy Jan Paul Morales (right) and Rudy Roque prepare their bike at a hotel in Iloilo City for 40 kilometers individual time trial in Guimaras Island on March 2.INQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Team Navy Jan Paul Morales (right) and Rudy Roque prepare their bike at a hotel in Iloilo City for 40 kilometers individual time trial in Guimaras Island on March 2.INQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

ILOILO CITY—While the rest of their rivals took a week-long breather, Jan Paul Morales and the entire Navy-Standard Insurance crew surveyed the route they still have to take on the way to the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 crown.

With three more racing days left, Morales and the Navymen could cement their dominance in the multistage bikathon starting with Thursday’s 12th stage, a 40-kilometer individual time trial in Guimaras.

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“If I can hold onto the lead after the ITT in Guimaras, I think I’ll win it this year,” said the 31-year-old Morales, bidding to become the first back-to-back individual champion in the Ronda race.

The track specialist from Calumpang, Markina ruled two of the three Ronda legs the previous year for the overall title.

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Bracing to break that probable Morales feat is teammate Rudy Roque, who won the 11th stage from Calamba to Antipolo and moved up to 2nd place in the general classification, just two minutes and 15 seconds off the pace.

“We’ll see how it turns out. If it’s for me, it’s for me. If not, I will be happy to finish second behind my teammate,” said Roque from Hermosa, Bataan, whose best finish was ninth in the inaugural edition of this race.

Roque agreed that today’s ITT is the turning point of the race that began in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, almost a month back, went to Subic and rode through Bicol and Southern Luzon before taking a week off prior to the Visayas finale.

The Navymen rested for only two days and arrived here six days ago.

Friday’s 13th stage will cover 209 kms from Iloilo to San Jose, Antique, and back while the final lap is a 50-km criterium victory ride on Saturday inside the township built by Megaworld in this city.

At far third is Cris Joven of Kinetix Lab-Army, 11:07 behind Morales, followed by Go For Gold’s Bryant Sepnio (15:37), RC Cola-NCR’s Lionel Dimaano (20:09), Ryan Serapio of Ilocos Sur, Navy’s Daniel Ven Carino, Lloyd Lucien Reynante, Ronald Lomotos and Kinetix Lab-Army’s Reynaldo Navarro.

The 38-year-old Reynante, the Navy team captain, declared that this will be his last multistage race, which offers P1 million to the champion.

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“I’m resting my tired body from competition,” said Reynante, who will venture into coaching.

The son of 1980 Tour champion Manuel Reynante, Lloyd never won an individual crown but finished second thrice (2004, 2009, 2010) in a career spanning two decades.

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TAGS: Jan Paul Morales, LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017, Navy-Standard Insurance
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