FORMER champion Santy Barnachea of Navy-Standard Insurance looks to protect the lead as the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014 resumes Friday with the 153-kilometer Stage Six from Lucena City to Antipolo City.
Mark Galedo of 7-Eleven, also a former champion, is behind by just five seconds and will be among the riders to watch.
The 37-year-old Barnachea and Galedo, 27, made their move in Wednesday’s 151.7-km Lucena-Lucena Stage Five to take the top two spots before the race took a break Thursday.
It was in the Lucena to Antipolo stage two years ago that Galedo took the red jersey and went on to win the overall title.
Now the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games gold medalist says he will make his move if he sees a chance.
Reimon Lapaza of Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao is another cyclist to watch, at No. 3 in the standings and just 19 seconds off the pace.
The 27-year-old Lapaza placed fifth in the opening stage and registered his first podium finish in Ronda with a second place effort in the Muntinlupa-Silang Stage Two.
Also in striking distance are PLDT-Maynilad's Ronald Oranza and Galedo's 7-Eleven teammate, Julius Mark Bordeos, who are just 44 and 57 seconds off, respectively.
Rounding out the top 10 in the 14-stage event presented by LBC, sponsored MVP Sports Foundation, Petron, NLEX, Maynilad, PLDT and Mitsubishi, Versa 2 Way Radio and Standard Insurance and minor sponsor Air Asia Zest and C! Magazine, sanctioned by PhilCycling and backed by Shimano Cannondale bikes, the Department of Tourism and Philippine National Police chief Allan Purisimaare Roadbike’s Marcelo Felipe, Cycleline’s Vicmar Vicente, Army’s Rey Navarro, Navy-Standard’s George Oconer and Matrix Powertag’s Daiki Yasuhara.