Ronda Pilipinas: Ronald Lomotos takes overall lead, rules stage 9
MANILA, Philippines — Ronald Lomotos of Navy Standard Insurance took the Ronda Pilipinas overall lead from his teammate Ronald Oranza after ruling the crucial 174.4-kilometer stage nine in Baguio on Saturday.
Lomotos snatched the red jersey from Oranza, who had been leading the overall race since Stage Six, clocking six hours, five minutes and four seconds in the penultimate stage pedaling from the mountains of Kayapa in Nueva Vizcaya to the finish line in Burnham Park.
The 26-year-old shed tears of joy after overcoming a nine-minute deficit in the Baler-Echague Stage Eight to take the lead with an aggregate time of 34:13:48, 21 seconds ahead of Oranza.
“I long dreamed of this and I thank the Lord he gave me this opportunity,” said the San Felipe, Zambales native, who took up the sport when his father Nicholas died when he was still seven years old.
“I took up cycling to help my mom (Zenaida), who was making ends meet as a caregiver,” he added.
Oranza, the 2018 Ronda champion, placed fourth in stage nine clipping the tape in six hours, 14 minutes and 22 seconds and dropped to second in the overall standings with an aggregate time of 34:14:09.
Lomotos and Oranza clash for the Ronda 2022 crown and the one million peso cash prize on Sunday in the final 3.1km Stage 10 criterium, that starts and ends at the Burnham Park, in a lap that would pass through the busy Session Road.
Navy Standard Insurance virtually clinched the team crown with a total time of 100:03:32, ahead of Excellent Noodles with 100:40:28 and Team Nueva Ecija with 102:56:30.
Joshua Pascual and Joshua Mari Bonifacio of Excellent Noodles were the second and third placers in Stage Nine after both clocked 6:13:31 to reach the Top 10 with the latter at No. 5 in 34:34:25 and the former at No. 8 in 34:38:58.
Excellent Noodles’ Jan Paul Morales, the overall leader in the early stages and winner of stage eight, dropped from No. 2 to No. 7 in 34:37:33, losing his chance to win the title.
Two other Navymen—El Joshua Carino and Jeremy Lizardo—were at distant third and fourth at 34:32:42 and 34:42:53, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 were Jonel Carcueva of Go for Gold at No. 6 at 34:36:29, Marcelo Felipe of Team Nueva Ecija at No. 9 at 34:41:37 and John Mark Camingao of Navy Standard Insurance at No. 10 34:51:28.