After finishing the 1,3410 kilometers scheduled for this year’s race, LBC Ronda Pilipinas finally concluded in the Heritage City of the Philippines, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
Philippine Navy Standard Insurance pedal-pusher George Oconer emerged as the leader of the tenth edition of LBC Ronda Pilipinas followed by his five teammates Ronald Oranza, Ronald Lomotos, John Mark Camingao, Junrey Navara, El Joshua Cariño then by Go For Gold riders, Jonel Carcueva, Daniel Ven Cariño and Ismael Grospe Jr., while Marvin Tapic placed 10th in the order.
Oconer has seized the overall leadership since Stage 5, Lucena City to Antipolo City, outsmarting Bicycology Shop (Army) rider Mark Julius Bordeos who had a steady grip of the red jersey from stage one, two and four.
More, the Philippine Navy Standard Insurance has also gripped the overall general team classification since stage 4, Naga City to Lucena City.
Earlier, the Navy Squad was lagging behind 7-Eleven Road Cliqq-Air 21 by Road Bike Philippines, its closest rival, by two minutes and 31 seconds
After outperforming 7-Eleven on Stage 4 by 8 minutes and 56 seconds, the Navy outshined rivals; dominated the competition finally; and sustained their lead all the way.
On stage 4, the tournament saw a dramatic change in both individual and team classification. Thus, Go For Gold took the second spot while 7-eleven dropped to the fourth spot, while the Bicycology Shop Army remained at the third spot.
According to Coach Reinhard Gorantes, the Navy’s victory on stage 4 had emboldened the team to keep going but not to be complacent.
Likewise, PNSI riders Jan Paul Morales and El Joshua Cariño retained and snatched the sprint and KOM leadership respectively on Stage 4 but not the GC.
In the same way, Go For Gold Daniel Ven Cariño seized the U23 leadership from 7-Eleven rider Aidan James Mendoza, while Daniel’s elder brother, El Joshua Cariño grasped the KOM title from 7-Eleven stalwart, Mark Galedo. Both of them, Mendoza and Galedo, had kept their title since stage 1 and did not reclaim their respective titles since then.
At the end of Stage 1, SLB riders Lian Capacio and Jopet Capacio and Nilo Valdez were out of the race, reducing the number of starters from the original 88 to 85 riders in the next race.
Moreover, due to weather conditions, the commissaires panel extended the time limit to 15 percent.
The 154.5 km-Sorsogon City to Legazpi City stage 2 was dominated by Tarlac Central Luzon rider Ryan Tugawin closely followed by G4G Ismael Grospe and PNSI George Oconer and others in a striking bunch finish.
The number of riders once again waned at the end of Stage 2 as seven more riders like BSA Kenneth Lacuesta, SLB Ranlen Maglantay, SIT Edmhel Jhon Flores, SIT Dominic Coronado, BXP Michael Farre, TCL Gerardo Sagun and TNE Dominador Maraña did not finish the race—diminishing the number of starters from 85 to 78 in the next race.
Meanwhile, at the end of 119 km-Legazpi City to Naga City Stage 3, Powerball Vice-President and Sports Patron Jeremy Go—Led Group, Scratch It, ruled the stage, steered by Jerry Aquino, Jr., a continental rider and son of former Marlboro Tour rider.
On the other hand, Team Ilocos Sur rider Leonardo Valdez was reportedly out of the race.
The grueling Naga City to Lucena City stage 4 was really unprecedented as the riders from the Philippine Navy, led by Ronald Lomotos, conquered the race in a 1 to 3 finish which stunned spectators across the globe.
After Stage 4, South Luzon Batangas rider Gino Bumalay was out of the race.
Much to the surprise of cycling buffs, the Navy team historically commanded the 128.5 km-Quezon to Rizal stage 5 in a 1 to 6 sprint finish while PNSI rider Jan Paul Morales completed the race at 7th spot with a difference of 4 minutes and 30 seconds from the race leaders alongside Go For Gold riders Ismael Grospe and Jonel Carcueva, Bicycology Shop Army rider Marvin Tapic and Celeste Cycles rider Roel Quitoy.
The Navy team ruled overwhelmingly over their rivals in the overall team classification with a lead of 23 minutes and 40 seconds over Go For Gold; 25 minutes and 19 seconds over Bicycology Shop (Army); 28 minutes and 55 seconds over 7-Eleven; and 33 and 18 minutes over Celeste Cycles PH.
Also, Go For Gold rider Ismael Grospe Jr. seized the MVP Yellow Jersey (U23 Classification) from his teammate Daniel Ven Cariño.
Further, PNSI George Oconer dislodged BSA Mark Julius Bordeos entirely in the overall general classification with a difference of 5 minutes and 14 seconds.
Out of the 76 riders who signed up, only 7-Eleven rider Tomas Mojares did not finish the competition. Though, the time limit was increased to 20 percent due to road conditions.
On Stage 6, Tarlac to Tarlac, PNSI riders George Oconer, Jan Paul Morales, El Joshua Cariño and Go For Gold Ismael Grospe defended their titles.
For the first time, PNSI Jan Paul Morales won his first stage triumph and at the same time retained his sprint leadership in this year’s competition.
Moreover, the overall team classification remained intact and not altered in favor of the Navy.
At the 110.6-km Tarlac to Nueva Ecija stage 7 race, PNSI rider Jan Paul Morales for the second time dominated in a bunch finish along side 38 riders. Meanwhile, South Luzon Batangas rider, Ron Francoise Tuazon reportedly bagged the race.
Still, Navy riders George Oconer, Jan Paul Morales, El Joshua Cariño and Go For Gold Ismael Grospe retained their leadership titles.
Surprisingly, at the 170 km-Palayan City to Baguio City stage 8 competition the following day, Go For Gold rider Ismael Grospe relinquished the U23 jersey to his teammate Daniel Ven Cariño after the latter dominated the stage 8 race. Simultaneously, the other PNSI jersey wearers, Oconer, Morales, Cariño, sustained their titles.
According to Go For Gold coach and mentor, Edz Hualda, the Palayan City to Baguio City stage 8 was their last-ditch effort to earn individual and stage honors considering that the route is the bailiwick of Daniel Ven Cariño who hails from Mangaldan, Pangasinan—about 69 kilometers from Baguio City.
At the same time, two former LBC Ronda Pilipinas champions 7-Eleven rider Mark Galedo and Celeste Cycles rider Reimon Lapaza finally conceded.
In the same way, Go For Gold rider Jhon Byron Lucero, Celeste Cycles rider Melchor Abejuro and South Luzon Kim Kenneth Krog did not finish the race.
At this juncture, South Luzon Batangas had only two surviving riders, Rodney Fernando and Christopher Garado, competing in the final two stages, equivalent to 211.5 kilometers.
At the penultimate stage, Navy riders George Oconer (GC), Jan Paul Morales (Sprint), El Joshua Cariño (KOM) and Go For Gold Daniel Ven Cariño (U23) still retained their leadership titles.
Bikextreme rider Arjay Kaul and Celeste Cycles Leonel Dimaano did not finish the race.
The 26 year-old-Tarlac Central Luzon rider, Kenneth Solis, of Pangasinense descent, won the grueling 176.4 km-race along side South Luzon Batangas rider Christopher Garado, and Bikextreme rider Mar Sudario.
Of the eleven teams competing on Stage 9, Philippine Navy Standard Insurance teams remained intact, unimpaired, and complete in this respect.
At the final stage, Vigan criterium, sixty-eight remaining riders signed up to compete in this shortest race. With an average speed of 41 kph, PNSI skipper Jan Paul Morales clinched the final race with another convincing feat, his third lap win.
Eventually, Philippine Navy Standard Insurance George Luis Oconer was declared as the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2020 overall champion with an aggregate time of 32 hours, 42 minutes and twelve seconds.
In the same way, PNSI skipper Jan Paul Morales had been hailed the top sprinter with 27 points while his teammate El Joshua Cariño earned the KOM title with 39 points.
Go For Gold youngster Daniel Ven Cariño was ultimately proclaimed as the best young rider (U23) with a controlling aggregate time of 32 hours, 47 minutes and 58 seconds.
The above information is painstakingly compiled based on the results of the competition. Please feel free to approach the author when there is discrepancy or ambiquity with the information stated above. Thank you.