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Lampawog tops Stage 8; Morales takes overall lead

Jay Lampawog of Navy.   Michael Varcas

UNISAN, Quezon, Philippines – Navy-Standard Insurance’s Jay Lampawog grabbed Stage Eight honors while teammate Jan Paul Morales wrested the overall lead with a runner-up finish in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 in this scenic seaside town yesterday.

Lampawog, a 19-year-old rising star from Villasis, Pangasinan, blitzed past the elite field to win the 187-km stage in four hours, 29 minutes, 29 seconds for his very first lap triumph.

“I consider myself blessed for allowing me to experience winning a stage here,” said Lampawog, a product of LBC Ronda Pilipinas’ program.

Erstwhile leader Rudy Roque, also of Navy, and Bike Extreme’s Jaybop Pagnanawon came in second and third, respectively, and turned in identical times of 4:30:39 with Go for Gold’s Jonel Carcueva, Bryant Sepnio and Jigo Mendoza and Ilocos Sur’s Ryan Serapio.

The day, however, belonged to Morales, who moved from third to first as he stepped up his bid to become the first back-to-back winner of the country’s biggest cycling race with an aggregate clocking of 28:55:16.

The Calumpang, Marikina City native’s strong finish gave him a two-minute lead over Roque, who got stuck in the peloton and failed to recover, dropping to second overall with a total time of 28:57:09.

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Navy’s Ronald Lomotos is at No. 3 with 28:59:30.

The podium finish came after Morales bucked cramps and topped the 227-km Daet-Quirino-Quezon-Daet Stage Seven.

“My team helped me today (yesterday), we did what we had to do,” said Morales.

Lampawog also barged into the Top 10 with a 29:04:33 clocking.

Carcueva, a 21-year-old rookie from Menganilla, Cebu, also moved to No. 4 with 29:00:19, or just around five minutes off the pace.

Kinetix Lab-Army’s Cris Joven dropped to No. 5 with 29:00:24 while rounding up the top 10 are Go for Gold’s Ryan Sepnio (29:02:08) and Elmer Navarro (29:02:15), RC Cola-NCR’s Leonel Dimaano (29:02:22) and Go for Gold’s Ismael Grospe Jr. (29:04:20).

Carcueva also leads the best young rider race ahead of Grospe and Lampawog.

Carcueva actually took a spill in the last 80kms but fought back to finish strong.

“I crashed in the middle of the race but I managed to get up and continue the race. Good thing I still finished well,” said Carcueva, who had scratches in his left knee and hurt his left shoulder.

Interestingly, Carcueva also fractured his left hand after falling into a ravine in the Ronda qualifying race in Bacolod City late last year.

“I thought I was going to die there because I was running 68km an hour downhill and lost my break,” said Carcueva, who also dedicated his success to his one-year-old son, Lian.

“This is for my son, who celebrated his first birthday last Feb. 5,” he said.

Ronda is staking P1 million to the champion courtesy of presentor LBC and in partnership with MVP Sports Foundation, Petron, Mitsubishi, Versa.ph, Partas, Maynilad, Standard Insurance, CCN, Bike Xtreme, NLEX, PhilCycling and 3Q Sports Event Management.

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