REIMON Lapaza rode safe and close to his rivals and turned the 89-kilometer criterium in Marikina on Sunday into a mere victory ride as the cyclist from Mindanao ruled the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014.
After taking the overall lead just a day before, Lapaza of of Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao simply stayed close to Frenchman Peter Pouly of Infinite-Singha and Mark Galedo of 7-Eleven while other riders battled for the final stage honors.
Taiwan’s Feng Chun Kai of Team Gusto beat PLDT-Maynilad's Ronald Oranza in a photo finish for the stage win, clocking one hour, 42 minutes and 21 seconds.
It was the third stage win by Feng, the current sprint champion of Taiwan, after reigning supreme in the Tagaytay-Los Banos Stage Three and Lucena-Lucena Stage Five.
Uijeongbu's Im Jae Yeon wound up third in 1:42:30 as he surged ahead of the main pack that included Lapaza on the final strecth.
The 28-year-old Lapaza finished the 2,000-km 14-stage race in 45 hours, 41 minutes and 33 seconds to win by a minute and seven seconds ahead of Pouly, the race’s King of the Mountain, who clocked 45:42:40.
Galedo, who was looking to bag his second title after winning the event two years ago, was a minute and 35 seconds behind for third place with a total time of 45:43:08.
Navy-Standard’s Barnachea, George Oconer, Lloyd Lucien Reynante, Joel Calderon, Jan Paul Morales and Rudy Roque won the team title with an aggregate time of 137:18:56.
The PLDT-Maynilad squad of Oranza, Mark Julius Bonzo, Joshua Carino, Rustom Lim, Junrey Navarra and Ronald Lomotos was second in with a total time of 137:21:48, while 7-Eleven's Galedo, Baler Ravina, Cris Joven, Edmundo Nicolas, Jr., Boots Ryan Cayubit and Mark Julius Bordeos was third in 137:31:14.
Oconer placed fourth in the individual standings at 45:45:58 followed by Roadbike's Marcelo Felipe (45:48:06), Lim (45:50:19), Barnachea (45:52:32), Valenzuela (45:53:08), Reynante (45:57:32) and Oranza (45:57:54).
Oconer, son of former Olympian Norberto, was named the Best Young Rider while Im won the sprint title in the event presented by LBC, sponsored by 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 Purisima.