Morales closes in on Ronda overall title after Stage 12 win
GUIMARAS ISLAND–Jan Paul Morales generated sufficient high power for long stretches to put a virtual lock on the overall title of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017.
The prime rider from Navy-Standard Insurance will only need to protect his huge 9:17 advantage over teammate Rudy Roque in the last two stages to seal the individual general classification plum and claim the P1-million champion’s prize.
Morales, who captured two of Ronda’s three legs last year for the overall crown, clocked one hour, five minutes and 42 seconds to rule Thursday’s 12th stage, a 40-kilometer race against the clock.
Navy’s Jay Lampawog placed second for the day in the individual time trial, 3:31 slower than Morales while Army’s Marvic Tapic wound up third, 3:37 back.
Morales overtook three riders, including Roque and third overall Cris Joven of Army, on the rolling course of this picturesque island famous for its sweet mangoes.
”It’s not yet over. If I manage to stay in front after tomorrow’s (today) stage, then I can openly claim the title,” said Morales, looking to become the first back-to-back and two-time Ronda champion.
Friday’s penultimate stage is a 209-km ride from Iloilo City to Antique and back with a long low-level climb in Hamtic town midway through the route.
The 14-stage bikathon ends Saturday with a 50km criterium inside the Megaworld township in Iloilo City.
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