STANDARD Insurance-Navy will again have former champions Ronald Oranza and Jan Paul Morales as it seeks to re-assert its dominance against a stacked field in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 10th anniversary race firing off on Feb. 23 in Sorsogon.
Ronda 2018 champion Oranza and Morales, who won it in 2016 and 2017, will ride with El Joshua Carino, George Oconer, Ronald Lomotos, John Mark Camingao and climbing specialist Junrey Navara in the race that finishes on March 4 in Vigan.
Lance Allen Benito is the newest member of the team that won three of the last four editions of the race.
“We will just try to live up to what is expected of us, which is to win,” said Navy coach Reinhard Gorantes.
Looking to challenge Navy is 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines, which is making a return since winning the team event seven years ago.
Mark Galedo, the 2012 titlist, leads the team featuring Marcelo Felipe and Rustom Lim.
Santy Barnachea, who won the inaugural staging of this race in 2011 and 2015, will also make a comeback as he leads a youth-laden Scratch It squad as well as 2014 winner Reimon Lapaza, who will represent Celeste Cycles-PH-Devel Project Pro Team.
“There are a lot of team this year who are capable of beating us, 7Eleven is one of them,” said Gorantes.
The other teams joining this 10-stage race presented by LBC and supported by the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation are Go for Gold, Bicycology (Army), Bike Xtreme, Tarlac/Central Luzon, Ilocos Sur, South Luzon/Batangas and Nueva Ecija.
After the 137-kilometer Stage One, Ronda rides 163km from Sorsogon to Legazpi on Feb. 24 followed by the 126.9km Legazpi-Naga Stage Three on Feb. 25, 212.5km Daet-Lucena Stage Four on Feb. 26, and 155.4km Lucena-Antipolo Stage Five on Feb. 27 before taking a breather the next day.
Ronda continues with the 128.9km Lingayen-Lingayen Stage Six on Feb. 29, 171.9km Lingayen-Nueva Ecija Stage Seven on March 1, 177.1km Nueva Ecija-Baguio Stage Eight on March 2, 176.4km Pugo, La Union-Vigan Stage Nine before closing it with a Stage 10 criterium in Vigan on March 4. The race is also supported by Versa, 8A Performance, Print2Go, Petron, Green Planet, Bike Xtreme, Standard Insurance, CCN, Lightwater, Prolite, Guerciotti, Black Mamba, Boy Kanin, Vitamin Boost, NLEX/SCTEX, Maynilad, 3Q Sports Event Management Inc., LBC Foundation and PhilCycling.