Navy riders pick up where they left off, dominate opener of Ronda Pilipinas Visayas leg
Richard Nebres shows bruises he suffered in a costly late-race spill. Snow Badua

BAGO CITY - The Philippine Navy Standard team continued to impose its dominance in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas as Ronald Oranza and Rudy Roque completed a one-two finish in Stage 1 of the Visayas leg on Friday.

Oranza and Roque immediately pulled away from the peloton at the start of this one-hour plus three laps criterium race, towing a pack that included LBC riders Ronald Lomotos and Rustom Lim.

The four-man breakaway group led the way for the first 40 minutes until Navymen Joel Calderon and Daniel Ven Carino and Team ASG rookie Richard Nebres joined the party.

Nebres, however, gave the veterans a big scare by taking the lead in the final two laps to the surprise of hundreds of spectators who braved the scorching heat at the start and finish area along Araneta Avenue.

But Nebres showed his inexperience as he suffered a spill in the final 500 meters of the race.

"Inipit nila ako tapos si Lomotos biglang nag menor, tapos tumama ako sa gulong ni Joel. Semplang ako," said Nebres, whose bike frame was heavily warped due to the accident and declared 'no longer fit for use.'

"Nautakan nila ako. Nagasgasan pa ako sa dibdib ko. Pero tatakbo pa rin ako sa Iloilo," he added.

International Commissairre Mickey Robb bared that cheap shots are normal in races, which is part of the tactics of some riders. But he said he will review the videos of the incident to assess if there were violations.

"It's part of the race, and Nebres is still young and inexperienced. He didn't see it coming. But I like the kid, he is very tough and for him to give the veterans a scare, [that] says a lot," said Robb, who was the chief commissairre of the recently concluded Tour De Langkawi in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Oranza hopes to sustain his momentum and atone for his disappointing run in the Mindanao leg, where he won the first two stages but lost the leadership and the title to teammate Jan Paul Morales.

"Subukan ko bantayan na ito. Kaya umpisa pa lang pumwesto na ko sa harapan, buti nga kinaya naming apat, dahil nung huli sumusuko na ibang kasama ko kasi sobrang lakas ng hangin at mainit," said Oranza.

Oranza led the intermediate sprint laps in the 4th and 8th loops, earning 10 points in the sprint honors, while tallying 15 points in the general classification for the overall individual classifications.


The Ronda entourage will take a break on Saturday as the delegation takes a two-hour fastcraft ride to Iloilo City where Stages 2 and 3 will be held.

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