MANILA, Philippines – George Oconer of Standard Insurance-Navy virtually clinched the title in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 10th anniversary race after sticking with the 10-man group that finished 1st in Stage 8 at the Burnham Park in Baguio City on Monday, March 2.
Oconer finished with 5 other Standard riders who were in the lead pack headed by Go For Gold’s Daniel Ven Carino, who topped the 170.6-km Palayan-Baguio stage with a time of 4:30:04.
Marvin Tapic of Bicycology-Army clocked in at 2nd, while Jonel Carcueva of Go for Gold wound up at 3rd in Stage 8.
The effort kept Oconer atop the overall rankings with an aggregate time of 27:34:35, ahead of Standard teammates Ronald Oranza (27:35:50), Ronald Lomotos (27:35:53), John Mark Camingao (27:36:28), Junrey Navarra (27:36:52), and El Joshua Carino (27:38:26).
In the process, the final two stages – the 176.4-km Pugo, La Union-Vigan Stage 9 and the Vigan Stage 10 criterium – will be reduced to Oconer’s coronation ride.
Oconer is expected to end his long search for the crown after finishing 3rd in the inaugural edition in 2011 and 2nd in 2015.
The Navymen did everything to protect Oconer, who never really got threatened in cruising to the finish line where they were met with cheers from the appreciative Baguio crowd.
“I’m thankful for my teammates for helping me, we treat each other as brothers,” said Oconer.
While the top 6 in the individual general classification remained unperturbed, there were some changes in the 7th to 10th places as former leader Mark Julius Bordeos of Bicycology and Rustom Lim of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 slipped out from the pack.
Carcueva moved from 9th to 7th with a time of 27:39:59, Daniel Ven Carino zoomed from 12th to 8th with 27:40:21, Ismael Grospe of Go For Gold leapt from 10th to 9th with 27:40:23, and Tapic improved to 10th from 20th with 27:42:55.
Standard also claimed the team crown – its sixth straight – while also holding on to the CCN sprint (Jan Paul Morales) and Versa King of the Mountain (El Joshua Carino).
The only category that Standard has not won is the MVP Sports Foundation Best Under-23 rider, which is being contested by Daniel Ven Carino, Grospe, and another Go for Gold bet Jericho Jay Lucero. – Rappler.com