KENNETH Solis took his first stage victory as George Oconer closed in on the overall title after Stage Nine of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 10th anniversary race on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Solis, riding for Team Tarlac, edged Christopher Garado of South Luzon-Batangas and Mar Sudario of Bike Xtreme in the 170.6-kilometer stage from Pugo in La Union to Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Bryant Sepnio of Celeste Cycles, Mervin Corpuz of 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines and two-time champion Santy Barnachea of Scratch It were part in that first group that clocked four hours, 15 minutes and 27 seconds.
Solis, who first raced in Ronda four years ago, delivered the second victory for Team Tarlac this year after Ryan Tugawin topped Stage Two in Legazpi City.
The 28-year-old Oconer stayed on top of the general classification with an aggregate clocking of 31:50:52 ahead of Standard Insurance-Navy teammates Ronald Oranza (31:52:07), Ronald Lomotos (31:52:10), John Mark Camingao (31:52:45), Junrey Navarra (31:53:09) and El Joshua Carino (31:54:43).
Jonel Carcueva is running seventh at 31:56:16 followed by Go for Gold teammates Daniel Ven Carino (31:56:38) and Ismael Grospe, Jr. (31:56:40), while Bicycology-Army’s Marvin Tapic (31:59:38) is in 10th.
The final stage, a criterium in Vigan, will be Oconer’s coronation stage.
The Navymen have also virtually sealed the team title.