Ronda now an Olympic qualifier
It’s LBC Ronda Pilipinas time again. That means it’s time for the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance team to defend its vise-like grip on the annual race that kicks off on Feb. 8 in Iloilo.
The Navymen will have new motivation: This year’s race is part of a series of qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Reigning Ronda king Ronald Oranza, two-time champion Jan Paul Morales and last year’s third placer and many-time King of the Mountain winner Junrey Navarra will spearhead Navy’s bid this year.
“This is our chance to show we can also compete against strong international teams,” said Morales, the Navy skipper, in Filipino.
For Oranza, who beat Morales last year to claim his first Ronda crown, it will be about for country and pride.
“In the past, we race to win for our Navy team and ourselves. This year, it will be for the country,” said Oranza.
Sanctioned by the world governing Union Cycliste Internationale for the first time in the nine-year history of the country’s biggest cycling race, the event has drawn participation from 15 teams, including seven local squads.