Standard Insurance riders virtual bike champs
TARLAC CITY—Standard Insurance-Navy virtually clinched the team title with still four stages to go in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 10th anniversary race on Saturday behind skipper Jan Paul Morales’ Stage 6 victory.
The 34-year-old Morales, the 2016 and 2017 champion, edged Dominic Perez of Bicycology-Army and Aidan James Mendoza of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines in a mass finish to claim the 111.9-kilometer lap in two hours, 34 minutes and 48 seconds.
The Navy riders have a total time of 81:56:49, 23.40 minutes ahead of closest pursuer Go for Gold (82:20:29).
Morales and teammate Junrey Navarra also helped Standard Insurance lead rider George Oconer preserve his hold of the individual classification lead.
Oconer was stranded in the main peloton in the first 50 km of the race but managed to wiggle free in the latter part of the race to join the main pack.
“[W]hen George finally caught up with us … we carried him through,” Morales said in Filipino.
Oconer, 28, has an aggregate time of 20:29:11 and will wear the LBC red jersey for the second straight day in today’s 116.5-km Stage 7 that unfurls at the Capitol here and ends in Palayan, Nueve Ecija.
“There are still four stages to go and anything can happen there,” said Oconer, son of former two-time Olympian Norberto. “But I will do my best to defend the lead and hopefully win this race.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.