TARLAC — Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance ruled the Stage Eight Team Time Trial in dominating fashion yesterday to continue to blow away the field in the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC that started at the provincial capitol and ended at the Tarlac Recreational Park here.
Towed by red LBC leader’s jersey holder Ronald Oranza and defending back-to-back champion Jan Paul Morales, the flying Navymen blazed their way to topping the 42.1-kilometer (km.) lap in 56.17 minutes, or about three minutes clear of closest pursuer Go for Gold Developmental team.
Army-Bicycology, skippered by Cris Joven, finished third in 1:00:10 in this race 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.
After eight grueling stages and with four more to go, Navy is untouchable at the helm with an aggregate time of 82:19:52 ahead of Go for Gold Developmental team with 82:52:24 and Army-Bicycology with 82:52:24.
And for Morales, who is also the team skipper, it’s all over but the shouting.
Navy, however, encountered some problems as they ended up with only four riders at the finish line — Oranza, Morales, Junrey Navarra and Archie Cardana.
Ronald Lomotos was already out after he was disqualified in the Stage Seven Individual Time Trial the day before for drafting while John Mark Camingao, Rudy Roque and El Joshua Cariño were all left behind.
It was enough though to seal the deal.
“Since only the fourth rider’s time will count in the TTT we had to drag Cardana near the finish line,” said Morales.
The race, which staked P1 million to the individual champion, will take a three-day breather and will resume on Thursday with the 207.2-km. Silang-Tagaytay Stage Nine.
It will wind up with the 147.8-km. Tagaytay-Calaca Stage 10 Friday, 92.72-km. Calaca-Calaca Stage 11 Saturday and the Stage 12 Filinvest criterium on Palm Sunday.