Roque outpaces, outwits big guns
ILIGAN CITY, Philippines – Youthful Rudy Roque upstaged fancied LPGMA-American Vinyl teammates Irish Valenzuela and Cris Joven to post a wire-to-wire triumph in Stage Three even as Santy Barnachea hung tough to keep the yellow jersey in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2013 yesterday.
Roque, 21, blazed past the field from start to finish to rule the 137.8km leg that started in Pagadian City and ended here before a roaring crowd at the finish line, beating Ronald Oranza of PLDT-Spyder and former two-time Tour king Warren Davadilla of Y101 FM-Cebu for lap honors in the event that capped the Mindanao stage of the 16-leg event.
The high school graduate from Tipo, Bataan clocked three hours, 17 minutes and 51 seconds in securing his third lap win since ruling the Ormoc-Tacloban and Metro Manila criterium in last year’s edition of the event.
More importantly, the victory saw him jump from 11th to third overall with a total clocking of 9:57.13, moving past noted teammates Valenzuela, last year’s second placer, and Joven.
“Honestly, I want to win and become a champion but my focus is really to help the team,” said Roque, a product of the Athletes from the Barrio Sports Program by LPGMA’s Arnel Ty and American Vinyl’s Eric Sy.
Navy-Standard’s Barnachea made his move early and joined Roque in the breakaway group but faded in the face of the eventual winner’s blistering pace, dropping to joint 32nd with 35 others who checked in at 3:19.01.
Still, the 36-year-old Barnachea kept the symbolic red jersey for the second straight day heading to tomorrow’s 134.2 Stage Four that will start and end in Cebu City.
The Ronda takes its first break today with the entourage taking a ferry ride from Cagayan de Oro to Cebu.
“I tried to join the breakaway group but the peloton caught up with me along the way,” said Barnachea, who won the Tour in 2002, 2006 and the first LBC Ronda Pilipinas in 2011.
Oranza, a 20-year-old native of Villasis, Pangasinan, and the 38-year-old Davadilla, who won the last edition of the fabled Marlboro Tour in 1988, and in 2005, actually crossed the finish line alongside Navy-Standard’s Daniel Asto and Hundred Islands Pangasinan’s Kenneth Solis in 3:18.03 but took the podium finish.
“It’s my best finish here,” said Oranza, who wound up third in the Pampanga-Cabanatuan stage in last year’s edition of this 21-day, 2,200km tour sponsored by LBC Express, Inc. and backed by Total, the MVP Sports Foundation, Jinbei Auto, Smart, Icom iDAS, Standard Insurance, Maynilad and NLEX.
For Davadilla, he’s just happy to snatch a podium finish.
“All we want is to get some lap wins here and there because it’s really hard for me to win now because I wasn’t really able to prepare for this event due to my commitments to the Air Force,” said Davadilla in Filipino.
Team Tarlac’s Tomas Martinez remained at No. 2 overall with 9:56.22 while Roadbike Phls’ Ronald Gorantes, the Ipil-Pagadian Stage Two winner, stood at No. 4 with a 9:57.19 clocking, ahead of Valenzuela of LPGMA-American Vinyl (9:57.20) and Smart’s Joel Calderon (9:57.28).
Rounding up the top 10 were Navy-Standard’s George Oconer (9:57.35), Smart’s Marcelo Felipe (9:57.38), LPGMA-American Vinyl’s Joven (9:57.54) and Hundred Islands Pangasinan’s Reynaldo Navarro (9:57.57).
Barnachea’s Navy-Standard team also continued to hold sway as it leads the team race with a total time of 29:46.46, ahead of Smart’s 29:50.05 and Roadbike Phl’s 29:52.09.