Ravina tops Ronda Stage 3
BUTUAN CITY—Baler Ravina had been craving for a stage victory in local cycling’s biggest race. Yesterday, the climber from Asingan, Pangasinan, surprisingly got more than what he wished for.
Ravina, the Filipino cyclist with the highest UCI ranking in Asia, seized lap honors and grabbed the overall leadership in a long and punishing Stage 3 that caused a major shakeup in the standings of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas.
“My target was just to win a stage, not the red jersey,” said Ravina after clocking five hours, 47 minutes and 19 seconds in the grueling 227-kilometer stage from Tagum, Davao del Norte.
“But since I’m now in red, I have to defend it,” added the 33rd-ranked cyclist in the continent.
The champion of last month’s four-stage Le Tour de Filipinas while riding for Road Bike Philippines, Ravina, 30, outsprinted Rustom Lim of LPGMA-American Vinyl in the final 500 meters to grab the lead from Tomas Martinez.
From 15th overall, 1:56 behind after Friday’s second leg in Davao City, Ravina forged in front by 30 seconds over V-Mobile’s Oscar Rindole and 49 ticks ahead of Cris Joven of LPGMA-American Vinyl.
“The heat will be on me,” said Ravina in Filipino, a three-time King of the Mountain in previous multistage bikathons who borrowed the P280,000 bike of his patron Bong Sual. “I’ll just go with the flow and make sure to maintain the lead,” he added.
Clutching his cramps-stricken left leg in the last 50 meters, Lim finished two seconds behind the stage winner while two-time Tour champion Warren Davadilla, 37, joined Ravina and Lim on the podium by coming in third, 30 seconds behind.
Rindole arrived with a large group two minutes after Ravina while Joven, winner of the General Santos City-Davao City leg on Friday, made a good account of himself in a pair of intermediate sprints in yesterday’s route.
Also moving up were Rey Martin of V-Mobile (1:16 behind) and Tarlac’s Joseph Millanes (1:37). Mindanao’s Tots Oledan entered the top 10 at sixth (1:40) while Road Bike’s Mark Galedo, who kept the KOM white jersey for the third straight day, fell two places at seventh (1:43).
Mindanao’s Dexter Nonato jumped five places to eighth (1:51) as well as Metro Manila’s Ronald Gorantes, who dislodged his brother Reinhard after improving from 12th to 10th (2:03). Arnel Quirimit, the 2003 champion, dropped to 9th, 1:54 back.
Oledan, who grew up in this Agusan del Sur province capital, finished fifth in the lap after suffering a flat tire on the final descent, six kilometers near the end of the rolling courses.
Martinez plunged to 16th (3:36) as One Tarlac fell to sixth in the team standings.
V-Mobile dislodged One Tarlac from the lead while Team Mindanao was second, 1:07 off the pace.
Today’s Stage 4 is another flat ride to Surigao City covering 118.7 kilometers. The 96 riders take a one-day respite tomorrow before moving on to the next stage in Ormoc City on Tuesday.