AFTER several foiled attempts at a podium finish, Team Cebu Y101 FM Marvin Tapic finally succeeded in the 2013 Ronda Pilipinas after finishing third in yesterday’s Stage 5, which started in Lapu-Lapu City and finished in Mountainview Natures Park in Barangay Busay, Cebu.
Tapic crossed the finish line in 4:39:21, which was good for third place. Winning the stage was El Joshua Carino of team PLDT/Spyder in 4:34:55 followed by Irish Valenzuela of American Vinyl/LPGMA-AVL with 4:37:41.
“I finally made a podium finish. I really thought dili nako makaya after what happened in Stage 4 when I slowed down in the last seven kilometers kay luya na and was left behind by the breakaway group. But I told myself, I am in Cebu, uphill routes are my specialty. Mamawi ko and double my effort,” said Tapic.
Tapic may have failed to win the King of the Mountain (KOM) for this stage, but he came in second.
Leading the over-all KOM ranking was Irish Valenzuela, who earned a total of 22 points. Tapic is one point behind for second place.
In Stage 1, Tapic finished fifth but dropped in the overall ranking when he encountered a technical problem in Stage 2.
He said he hopes to continue climbing up the standing as the race progresses. He is now currently eighth in the overall standing.
Meanwhile, for his feat, the 19-year-old Carino strengthened his hold of the top ranking of the over-all best young rider award.
Before this stage, riders underestimated the route.
“I heard that Cebu will have a killer stage but some think the Bayombong to Baguio City route in Stage 14 would be more difficult. But after today, all I can say is ang hirap. Doble talaga ang hirap. It was very steep especially in the last two kilometers of the climb,” said Carino, who is also a member of the LBC developmental team supported by MVP Sports Foundation.
Another member of Team Cebu Y101 FM, Emelito Atilano, finished ninth yesterday to improve the team’s standing.
“I am happy that our cyclists displayed a very impressive performance sa duha ka stage nga gi hold diri sa atong own turf. I just hope that they will be consistent with what they showed here para ma improve sad among standing,” team manager Amis Urgel said.
The team is currently ranked fifth in the overall ranking.
Valenzuela is also the new overall leader of the race with a total time of 18:21:12.
Last leg’s leader Santy Barnachea of the Philippine Navy/Standard Insurance-PNS dropped to seventh overall.
Valenzuela is closely followed by Carino with 18:22:48 for the second place and Ronald Oranza of team PLDT/Sypder at third with 18:23:10.
One of Cebu’s top young cyclists, John Mier, dropped from the race after his health condition continued to deteriorate.
Mier has not felt well since Stage 1, but he raced anyway and tried to keep up with the top riders.
This time, his body gave up on him and he did not finish the race.
This will greatly affect Mier’s bid to defend his best young rider title that he won last year.
LBC Ronda Pilipinas will now move to Luzon with stage six to unfurl on Jan. 20 which will be a 128.3-km ride from Malolos City Hall to Tarlac City.
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