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Morales wins 2nd straight bike stage

TAGAYTAY CITY—Jan Paul Morales of Navy-Standard Insurance followed up his Stage 1 victory by topping the Stage 2 individual time trial of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016’s Luzon Leg that started in Talisay City, Batangas and ended at the Tagaytay Convention Center here Monday.

Riding the crest of an emphatic victory in the Stage 1 criterium at the Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Laguna the day before, Morales was in beast mode again as he topped the 14.7-kilometer stage in 36 minutes and 8.6 seconds to remain as the overall leader and continue to leave everyone behind.

It was Morales’ second stage win in this five-stage Luzon phase and fourth overall this year after he snared two stage wins in Mindanao, where he also emerged its champion two months back.

Jan Paul Morales (center) of Navy-Standard Insurance, shown here with other podium winners, raises his trophy after topping the Stage 2 individual time trial of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016’s Luzon Leg.

More importantly, the 30-year-old Morales has amassed 30 general classification points or a clear 10 points ahead of closest pursuers Rustom Lim and George Oconer of LBC-MVP Sports Foundation with 20 and 18 points.

Morales said his superb conditioning proved key.

“I was really feeling great about my body that I myself couldn’t stop it,” said Morales, a native of Calumpang, Marikina, in Filipino.

John Mark Camingao, another Navy rider, finished second in the stage in 36:38.70, while LBC-MVPSF’s Rustom Lim placed third in 36:44.80.

Morales, the Mindanao leg champion, would continue to wear the LBC red jersey in the Antipolo City Stage 3 criterium tomorrow.

“I hope to keep it until the end,” he said.

LBC-MVPSF’s Ronald Lomotos checked in at No. 4 in 36:52.60, while 2009 Tour winner Joel Calderon and Navy skipper Lloyd Lucien Reynante wound up No. 5 and No. 6, with respective clockings of 37:52.70 and 38:12:40.

LBC-MVPSF’s George Oconer and Ronnilan Quita were at Nos. 7 and 8 in 38:14.50 and 38:36.10, while Ronald Oranza, the Visayas Leg champion, and Navy cyclist El Joshua Carino rounded up the Top 10 with times of 38:36.70 and 38:56.50.

LBC-MVPSF riders Lim, George Oconer and Ronald Lomotos have stubbornly challenged Morales as the troika, at Nos. 2, 3 and 4 with 20, 18 and 15 points, is expected to give it all to dislodge Morales from the helm.

At fifth to ninth overall were a slew of Navy cyclists Camingao (14), Rudy Roque (12), Calderon (11), Carino (9) and Reynante (7) and Quita (6).

Reynante said he was impressed with his team’s showing.

“So far, so good,” said Reynante.

LBC-MVPSF’s Ranlen Maglantay, who hails from Marbel, South Cotabato, figured in a spill after he hit a tricycle in Talisay and did not finish. He was rushed to the nearby hospital and suffered only scratches.

Antipolo City will host Stage 3 with a criterium on April 6 before LBC Ronda closes with a Stage Four road race from Dagupan City, Pangasinan to Baguio on April 8 and another criterium on Baguio on April 9.

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