JAN Paul Morales capped his title run with victory on the final stage of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 on Saturday in Vigan.
The Navy rider topped the 50-kilometer criterium, the finale of the 14-stage competition, in one hour, five minutes and eight seconds.
Morales is the first back-to-back winner in seven Ronda races. Santy Barnachea also owns two Ronda titles. The other former Ronda champions were Albay's irish Valenzuela (2012), Mark Galedo (2013) and Butuan City's Reimon Lapaza (2014).
The 31-year-old Morales clocked 44:55:35 after 1782.6-km of racing, finishing almost 14 minutes ahead of teammate Rudy Roqie
Morales won six stages this year including the individual time trial, and also claimed the sprint and king of the mountain titles for a total of P1,228,500.
He also gets a share of the P50,000 won by powerhouse Navy for taking the team title with an aggregate time of 176:46:09. Kinetix Lab-Army was second in 177:36:36 and Go for Gold was third in 177:46:07.
"I'm happy as well as relieved that it was over," said the soft-spoken Morales.
"It was really a difficult race, tougher than last year. I'm glad I could finally rest because I really gave it all just to win this race."
Roque, 25, clocked 45:09:20, while Army's Cris Joven was third in 45:12:16 followed by Go for Gold's Bryant Sepnio (45:23:37), RC Cola-NCR's Leonel Dimaano (45:23:51), Navy's Ronald Lomotos (45:24:41), Daniel Ven Carino (45:27:35) and skipper Lloy Lucien Reynante (45:28:33), and Army's Reynaldo Navarro (45:31:11) and Ronnilam Quita (45:32:25).
It was the farewell race for the 38-year-old Reynante and his Navy teammate 37-year-old Joel Calderon.
"I'm planning to coach after this," said Reynante, a three-time Tour Pilipinas runner-up.
"I'll just tend my farmlands and really leave cycling for good," said Calderon, the 2009 Tour King and runner-up to Barnachea in Ronda six years back.