The 26-year-old Go for Gold rider clocked five hours, 17 minutes and 49 seconds for seventh place in the 212.5-kilometer stage from Daet to Lucena —the longest in this 10-stage race— that was topped by 23-year-old Joshua Mari Bonifacio of Excellent Noodles in 5:15:59.
The Cebuano moved to the top of the general classification, matching Morales’ total time of 15:02:52.
“Being a mountain biker taught me tricks in riding downhill and this experience helped me today,” said Carcueva, whose best finish was sixth overall four years ago.
Bonifacio, formerly of Go for Gold, came through with the first stage victory of his young career.
The proud son of Zambales edged Navy Standard Insurance’s El Joshua Carino, who clocked 5:16:07.
Another Go for Gold bet, Ronnilan Quita was third in 5:17:44 for his second podium finish after also winding up third in the Stage One Individual Time Trial in Sorsogon City on Friday.
“I preserved my energy for that climb in the mountain,” said Bonifacio referring to the Atimonan Zigzag Park or “Tatlong Eme.”
Jan Paul Morales slips to second
Morales’ rivals made sure he was contained.
“I’m okay, there were just so many of them guarding me,” said the 36-year-old 2016 and 2017 Ronda king.
The overhaul in the top 10 saw Mervin Corpuz of Excellent Noodles slipping to No. 3 from No. 2 with a 15:04:29; Daniel Ven Carino zooming to No. 4 from No. 13 with a 15:04:44; and John Mark Camingao of Navy Standard Insurance climbing to No. 5 from No. 14 with a 15:05:12.
Ronald Oranza of Navy Standard Insurance, the 2018 titlist, sputtered to No. 6 from No. 4 in 15:05:29; 2011 and 2015 Ronda winner Santy Barnachea falling to No. 7 from No. 5 in 15:05:38; Ronald Lomotos of Navy Standard Insurance barging into No. 8 from No. 15; and Jericho Jay Lucero and Aidan Mendoza of Go for Gold slipping to Nos. 9 and 10 from Nos. 7 and 8 in 15:05:57 and 15:06:02, respectively.
In the overall team race, seven-time winner Navy Standard Insurance snatched the lead from Excellent Noodles with a total time of 42:32:26.
Excellent Noodles slipped to third in 42:35:14 as Go for Gold snared second in 42:33:25.
The race resumes on Tuesday with the 157.4km Lucena to Tagaytay Stage Six. The annual event offers a P3.5 million cash pot including P1 million to the champion courtesy of LBC Express, Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Quad X, Smart, Twin Cycle Gear, Standard Insurance, Print2Go, Elves Bicycles, Elitewheels, Orome, Maynilad, PhilHydro, Garmin, Petron, Boy Kanin, Green Planet Bikeshop, Prolite, Fujiwara, Black Mamba Energy Drink, Lightwater, LBC Foundation, PhilCycling and the Games and Amusements Board.