Oranza to Ronda pursuers: ‘catch me if you can’

Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance checks the condition of his bike in preparation for the last four stages of the annual Ronda Pilipinas cycling tournament, including the challenging 207.2-kilometer Stage Nine on Thursday that starts at the Silang Municipal Hall here and ends at the Tagaytay Convention Center.

SILANG, Cavite—Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance hopes to hold on to his lead as the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC resumes today with a challenging 207.2-kilometer Stage Nine that starts at the Silang Municipal Hall here and ends at the Tagaytay Convention Center.

After a three-day break, Oranza and the rest of the pack will come in fresh as they tackle the stage that will feature four climbs from Kaybiang Tunnel to the steep passes of Leynes in Talisay, Batangas which are known to Talisay residents as ‘Sungay’.

Oranza however remains cautious, knowing full well that a seven-minute lead (21:01:56) he enjoys may not be enough. Next to him in the overall race is fellow Navyman and reigning back-to-back champion Jan Paul Morales who has an aggregate time of 21:08:51.

“I need to be extra careful because anything can happen in the next few stages,” said Oranza, who hails from Villasis, Pangasinan, in Filipino.

“If I can’t win it this year, I want the winner to be a Navyman so I don’t mind if Oranza wins it. He has a big lead and we will do our best to just protect it,” said the 32-year-old Morales, who is based from Calumpang, Marikina.

Jay Lampawog of Go for Gold Developmental team is at No. 3 with 21:19:31 while Army-Bicycology’s Cris Joven (21:20:02), Navy’s John Mark Camingao (21:20:24), Go for Gold’s George Oconer (21:20:51), Go for Gold Developmental team’s Ronnel Hualda (21:21:29), Navy’s Rudy Roque (21:21:42), CCN Superteam’s Irish Valenzuela (21:22:04) and Navy’s Junrey Navara (21:22:08) round up the top 10.

The next two stages — the 147.8 km Tagaytay-Calaca Stage 10 on Friday and the 92.72km Calaca-Calaca Stage 11 on Saturday— are both featuring with mountain passes.

Presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, Filinvest, Philippine Rabbit, CCN, Petron, Versa.ph, 3Q Sports Event Management, Inc., Boy Kanin, Franzia, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, SH+, Guerciotti, Prolite, Green Planet, Maynilad, NLEX Sports, Lightwater, LBC Foundation and PhilCycling, the race will conclude with the Stage 12 criterium in Filinvest, Alabang on Sunday.

Oranza and the flying Navymen have practically bagged the team title as they have an aggregate time of 82:19:52, or 32.32 minutes ahead of Go for Gold Developmental team with 82:52:24.

Army-Bicycology is at No. 3 with 83:10:47.