Ronald Oranza raises his arm in triumph after topping Stage 2. Ernie Peñaredondo

Ronald Oranza wrests overall Ronda Pilipinas 2018 lead
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2018 - 12:00am

PAGUDPUD, Ilocos Norte, Philippines — Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance went two-for-two in the early going of Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC, seizing the overall individual lead after the 155.4-km Stage Two that started at  Vigan, Ilocos Sur and ended in front of the Municipal Hall here yesterday.

Sustaining his charge in Stage One criterium Saturday, Oranza, 25, went on attack mode again, joining the early breakaway group before making his move in the final three-km stretch to post his second stage triumph in three hours, 34 minutes, 13 seconds.

The Villasis, Pangasinan ace beat teammate Rudy Roque and CCN Superteam’s Sherwin Carrera in their dash to the finish with Roque and Carrera earning the same clocking as Oranza.

Oranza’s second straight win thus shoved him from second to first overall with an aggregate time of 4:45:14. He will now don the LBC red jersey symbolic of LBC leadership in today’s Pagudpud-Tuguegarao Stage Three, the longest lap (223.5 kms) of this 12-leg race staking P1 million to the champion. 

Oranza dedicated his strong start to his girlfriend Maribel Marzan and one-year-old son Ronald, Jr., saying: “This is for them. If I win here, I would marry her.”

Go for Gold’s George Oconer, tipped to challenge defending back-to-back champion Jan Paul Morales of Navy, failed to match Oranza’s big charge in the stretch past the famous Bangui windmills but succeeded in wresting second spot with 4:46:02 ahead of Roque (4:47:29 and Carrera with 4:47:40.)

Unheralded Joshua Mari Bonifacio of Go for Gold Developmental team also jumped from nowhere to No. 5 (4:47:56).

Morales, who topped two intermediate sprint races to grab the early overall lead despite finishing second to Oranza in the criterium, failed to slip past a big group of rivals and wound up in a 16-man bunch that checked in at 13th place in 3:40:17. He tumbled down to ninth overall in 4:51:23.

ILOCOS SUR NAVY-STANDARD INSURANCE RONALD ORANZA RONDA PILIPINAS 2018 RUDY ROQUE SHERWIN CARRERA VIGAN
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