UNHERALDED Roel Quitoy topped Stage 10 of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 out and back at the Tagaytay Convention Center on Monday.
The 25-year-old rider from Zamboanga City, in his second Ronda, showed impressive climbing skills as he stuck with overall leader Jan Paul Morales from the start and stealing stage honors in three hours, 25 minutes and 29 seconds.
Morales finished two seconds behind and said he let the Quitoy take stage honors as reward for the hard work during the stage.
"He was the one who towed us when we made the move to catch up with the lead pack and he was also with me when we broke loose in the ascent in Sampaloc," said Morales, referring to Quitoy.
Quitoy, whose father Romeo competed in the fabled Tour back in the old days, was a little bit emotional when he received his first ever paycheck worth P20,000.
"I dream of having a good life through cycling and I hope this is a start for me," said Quitoy, who gave up mountain biking for road racing after suffering a knee injury that sidelined him for three years.
Quitoy also attributed his success to his accidental bike change.
After his ‘hybrid’ aluminum bike broke down in the Angeles-Subic Stage Three more than two weeks ago, Quitoy almost quit but his manager Paul Tan lent him his carbon bike worth over P100,000.
"I was also using a mountain bike gear in my old bike, unlike this new one," he said.
Kinetix Lab-Army's Ronnilan Quita checked in at third while Navy's Jay Lampawog finished at No. 4 with the two given the same time of 3:26:50.
Navy's Rudy Roque, who held the overall lead in the first seven stages before Morales snatched it from him in Stage Eight in Daet, Camarines Norte, was at No. 5 while Kinetix Lab-Army's Marvin Tapic and Cris Joven, Navy's Lloyd Lucien Reynante and Joel Calderon and Ilocos Sur's Jheffson Sotto comprised the top 10 with 3:27:49.
After 10 stages, Morales remained at No. 1 with an aggregate time of 33:26:24, over four minutes ahead of Roque.
Joven has climbed from No. 5 to third with 33:34:39 but over eight minutes off the pace while Lampawog leapt from No. 10 to fourth with 33:37:48. Go for Gold's Jonel Carcueva moved one place to fifth at 33:38:40.
Navy's Daniel Ven Carino and Quita also barged into the top 10 for their strong stage efforts as the two are now in Nos. 9 and 10 with 33:42:51 and 33:45:29, respectively.
Go for Gold's Bryant Sepnio (33:39:09), RC Cola-NCR's Leonel Dimaano (33:39:28) and Ilocos Sur's Ryan Serapio (33:41:39) were at Nos. 6, 7 and 8.
Navy remained on top of the team standings with a 134:59:29 aggregate time, 47 minutes ahead of Kinetix Lab-Army.
The 19-year-old Lampawog took the lead in the best young rider's race from Carcueva.
Ronda rides 140km from Calamba, Laguna to Antipolo City in Stage 11.