After three stages, the Philippine Navy Standard Insurance (PNSI) has finally awakened in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2020.
The trio led by Ronald Lomotos along with Junrey Navara and El Joshua Cariño makes a startling comeback as they dashed headlong through the finish line in a 1-2-3 finish at the 205.5-km Daet to Lucena City stage race.
Before stage 4, the PNSI was lagging behind 7-Eleven Cliqq-Air 21 by RBP by about 2 minutes and 31 seconds in the overall team classification.
The 79 riders were officially flagged off at a zero mark near the welcome arch in Daet, Camarines Sur in a cloudy morning.
Army men led by Chris Joven and Marvin Tapic initiated to break apart from the peloton.
Racers passed over the municipalities of Bagasbas, Talisay, Lábo, and Sta. Elena in Camarines Sur then went on the towns of Calauag, Lopez, Gumaca, Atimonan, Pagbilao, and Lucena City.
Subsequently, a five-man breakaway was immediately formed comprised of Ronald Oranza, who steered the pack, Nichol Pareja, Marc Ryan Lago, Dennis Gabaldon, and Jester Mendoza.
As the race went on in Lábo, the five-man team swelled to a nine-man breakaway as Jan Paul Morales, Junrey Navara, Arjay Peralta, and a rider checked in Lábo, Camarines Norte.
From only 19 sec-lead, the lead pack broadened the gap to 90 seconds around the winding and twisting road in a barangay in Lábo. By this time, the peloton was still trying to close the gap.
At 10:45 in the morning, in Barangay Kabungahan in Lábo, the composition of the lead pack had significantly changed. The nine riders dwindled, but the triad of Jan Paul Morales, Ronald Oranza, and Junrey Navara stayed intact in conjuction with three other riders while the peloton was lagging, 87 seconds behind the six-race leaders.
Thirty-five minutes after that, the race leaders widened the gap by 4 minutes.
Team Nueva Ecija Arjay Peralta, Bicycology Shop PA Jester Mendoza, and 7-Eleven Nichol Pareja continued to watch over the three Navy men in the lead pack as the navy headed towards the 118-km mark at Sta. Elena, Cam Norte.
Morales conquered the imaginary Sprint line first, followed by Peralta, Oranza, Mendoza, Pareja, and Navara.
As they reached Gumaca at approximately 12:53 pm, the peloton had closed the gap less than a minute.
At this juncture, the Navy Squad was already run-down as Nichol Pareja persisted in dragging the exhausted pack to get rid of the peloton.
Meanwhile, in Atimonan, a fresh breed of breakway was established as Sherwin Carrera of Team Ilocos Sur, and Ryan Tugawin of Tarlac Central Luzon tried to subdue Junrey Navara before reaching Eme or Quezon National Forest Park while Marcelo Felipe and Mark Galedo led the peloton towing the remaining five navy men and others at the back.
Upon entry to the 938 hectare-Quezon National Forest Park, famously known as Tatlong Eme, fresh navy men, like El Joshua Cariño and Ronald Lomotos, managed to sneak through the back door and saved the weary Junrey Navara.
With fresh legs, PNSI Cariño dashed through the KOM (235 masl) first.
Further, the 3-man Navy Squad in the lead pack sustained their lead by about a minute in the final eight kilometers and completed the course in a well-choreographed finish at 4 hours, 56 minutes, and 28 seconds.
Here are the results:
|First||Philippine Navy||Ronald Lomotos|
|Second||Philippine Navy||Junrey Navara|
|Third||Philippine Navy||El Joshua Cariño|
PNSI Jan Paul Morales regained the sprint leadership after losing the jersey to TNE Arjay Peralta at Stage 2.
Meanwhile, brothers Go For Gold Daniel Ven Cariño and PNSI El Joshua Cariño snatched the U23 and KOM Leadership to 7-Eleven teammates Aidan James Mendoza and Mark Galedo who had both maintained and defended the jerseys since stage 1.