LEGAZPI CITY—Unheralded Ryan Tugawin of Team Tarlac edged Ismael Grospe, Jr. of Go for Gold in a nail-biting down the stretch to claim his first ever lap victory even as Mark Julius Bordeos of Bicycology-Army kept the general classification lead after two stages of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 10th anniversary race that started in Sorsogon and ended in front of the city hall here.
Tugawin, 30, saved his best for last to snatch the 154.5-km stage 2 victory from Grospe, 21, and end his long three-year search for lap triumph in this annual event presented by LBC and backed by the MVP Sports Foundation.
Grospe settled for second while George Oconer of Standard Insurance-Navy checked in at third, all clocking three hours, 50 minutes and 37 seconds just like the rest of the peloton that caught up with the five-man lead pack that included former champions Jan Paul Morales and Ronald Oranza of Navy and Mark Galedo of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21.
“I was just sticking with them from behind but when I found a space on the side, I went for it,” said Tugawin in Filipino.
It was the best effort for the Solano, Nueva Vizcaya rice farmer after snaring a second-place effort in a stage in Guimaras last year.
Tugawin also took advantage of the raging battle between Navy and 7Eleven as the two went for each other’s neck from the get go with an aim of pocketing the top individual purse worth P1 million and the team title amounting to P200,000.
And it looked like 7Eleven is winning it as it not only sent five riders in the top 10, it also stole the team lead from Navy by clocking a total aggregate time of 27:47:23 as against the latter’s 27:49:54.
Bicycology was at No. 3 with 27:50.03.
Rustom Lim (6:56:40), Galedo (6:56:47), Aidan James Mendoza (6:56:54), Marcelo Felipe (6:56:56) and Mervin Corpuz (6:56:56) crowded the top 10 at fourth to eighth spots.
Stage One winner Mark Julius Bordeos of Bicycology-Army kept the LBC red jersey symbolic of the lead with a total clocking of 6:56:34 while Scratch It’s Jerry Aquino, Jr. and Oconer were at second and third with 6:56:37 and 6:56:40, respectively.
Rounding up the top 10 were Alvin Binosa of Celeste Cycles (6:56:57) and Jester Neil Mendoza of Bicycology (6:57:01).
And things are expected to heat up more when the race, which has Versa, 8A Performance, Print2Go, Petron, Green Planet, Bike Xtreme, Standard Insurance, Spyder, CCN, Lightwater, Prolite, Guerciotti, Black Mamba, Boy Kanin, Vitamin Boost, NLEX-SCTEX, Maynilad, 3Q Sports Event Management Inc., LBC Foundation and PhilCycling as backers, resumes in today’s 119km Legazpi-Naga Stage Three.
Meanwhile, LBC Ronda Pilipinas chairman Moe Chulani announced Stages Six and Seven will be moved to Tarlac City this weekend.
“In behalf of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas, we would like to thank Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino III and Lingayen Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil for the invitation to hold two stages there,” said Chulani in a statement.
“Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, they have decided to cancel all events including sports activities.In lieu of this, we went to Tarlac City to hold Stages Six and Seven to complete our scheduled 10 stages,” he added.
Chulani stressed that Ronda will be returning to Pangasinan in the near future.
“For sure, we will come back to Pangasinan, the cradle of cycling in the Philippines where most of the past champions came from,” he added.