Spaniard completes Ronda Pilipinas dominance
PANDAN, Antique—Spaniard Francisco Mancebo Perez displayed titanium nerves and world-class skills that local cyclists should strive for to achieve global success.
Already 42 years old with tens of thousands in road mileage, the elite climber from Matrix Powertag Japan schooled the finest Filipino riders in his victory drive to the general classification title of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2019.
Mancebo, a fearsome mountain specialist in the Tour de France during his prime, simply went through the motions of completing the UCI-sanctioned bikathon on Tuesday after a hot but windy 148.9-kilometer ride from Roxas City.
“They (Filipinos) need to train harder,” said Mancebo, who grew up in the highlands of Granada province in Spain.
“When I was younger, I trained for six hours, six days a week, all in the mountains.”
He arrived 32 seconds behind Stage 5 winner El Joshua Cariño, who crossed the line in three hours, 24 minutes and 37 seconds.
Last year’s champion Ronald Oranza of Navy Standard Insurance and Dominic Perez of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Road Bike Philippines checked in with a big wave of riders led by Cariño, but failed to overcome Mancebo’s sizeable lead in the GC.
“Mancebo is definitely world-class,” said Oranza, who secured the Best Filipino rider award after placing second overall, 3:20 behind the champion. “He’s smart and doesn’t panic. We should train more to reach his level.”
Cariño, who rides for Navy Standard Insurance, beat Terrenganu teammates Artem Ovechkin and two-time Southeast Asian Games champion Mohd Harrif Saleh in a wild sprint with identical clockings.
Overall, Perez placed third (3:23 behind).
Matrix ruled the team classification after narrowly escaping the challenge of 7Eleven Road Bike Philippines, which finished just 12 seconds off the pace.
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