UNISAN, Quezon - Navy-Standard Insurance's Jay Lampawog claimed his very first lap victory by topping Stage Eight even as teammate Jan Paul Morales finished second to snatch the solo lead from fellow Navyman Rudy Roque in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017.
Lampawog, 19, showed impressive sprint skills as he ruled the 187-km. stage that ended in this scenic seaside town in four hours, 29 minutes and 29 seconds, just ahead of a six-man chase pack headed by eventual second and third placers Morales and Bike Extrme's Jaybop Pagnanawon.
Go for Gold daredevil Jonel Carcueva was part of that group that checked in with identical clockings of 4:30:39 along with fellow Go for Gold bets Bryant Sepnio and Jigo Mendoza and Ilocos Sur's Ryan Serapio.
Lampawog said he was just thankful to get his first stage win.
"I'm just happy I got to experience winning a stage as well as helping my team," said Lampawog, a proud son of Villasis, Pangasinan, in Filipino.
The biggest gainer though was the 31-year-old Morales, who zoomed to the top from third after his second straight podium finish.
After eight stages, Morales has an aggregate time of 28:55:16, less than two minutes ahead of Roque, who got stranded in the peloton and skidded to second with a total time of 28:57:09.
Navy's Ronald Lomotos is at No. 3 with 28:59:30.
"It was a team effort, I would not have done it without the support of my team," said Morales, who is seeking to become the first back-to-back winner of this annual event considered the biggest cycling race in the country.
Lampawog also barged into the top 10 for the first time with 29:04:33.
Carcueva, a 21-year-old rookie from Menganilla, Cebu, leapfrogged from No. 10 the day before to No. 4 with 29:00:19, or just around five minutes off the pace.
Kinetix Lab-Army was bumped off from No. 4 to No. 5 with 29:00:24 while rounding up the top 10 were Go for Gold's Ryan Sepnio (29:02:08) and Elmer Navarro (29:02:15), RC Cola-NCR's Leonel Dimaano (29:02:22) and Go for Gold's Ismael Grospe, Jr. (29:04:20).
Carcueva also leads the best young rider race ahead of Grospe and Lampawog.
Ronda is staking P1 million to the champion courtesy of presentor LBC and in partnership with MVP Sports Foundation, Petron, Mitsubishi, Versa.ph, Partas, Maynilad, Standard Insurance, CCN, Bike Xtreme, NLEX, PhilCycling and 3Q Sports Event Management.