BAGUIO CITY — Ronald Lomotos of Navy Standard Insurance turned the 10th and final stage into a victory ride on Sunday to crown himself champion of the 11th LBC Ronda Pilipinas that ended at the Burnham Park in this mountaintop city.
Lomotos, 27, finished in the main group with his team captain and closest pursuer Ronald Oranza, crossing the finish line at the end of the 3.1-kilometer criterium at 20th place in an hour, 17 minutes and 50 seconds.
Richer by P1 million
After 10 stages of more than 1,000 kilometers of flat roads and mountain passes starting in Sorsogon, the San Felipe, Zambales native became a first-time champion to bring home the cash purse worth a cool P1 million.
Lomotos, who finished second overall behind Navy teammate George Oconer in the last edition of this annual cycling spectacle two years ago, had an aggregate time of 35:31:38 to edge Oranza by 21 seconds.
The 29-year-old Oranza, the 2018 winner, fell to second place after coming into the penultimate Santiago, Isabela-Baguio Stage 10 as the red jersey wearer.
But Oranza came seconds short of achieving his goal after Lomotos rose from the ashes and delivered a performance to remember in the mountains of Kayapa and Bokod, Nueva Vizcaya. He pocketed P400,000.
The two's efforts capped a dominating race by Navy Standard Insurance, who had three others ending up in the Top 10 — El Joshua Carino (No. 3, 35:50:32), Jeremy Lizardo (No. 4, 35:50:43) and John Mark Camingao (No. 10, 36:12:17).
The other top 10 finishers were Excellent Noodles’ Joshua Mari Bonifacio (35:51:46), Go for Gold’s Jonel Carcueva (35:53:57), Excellent Noodles’ Jan Paul Morales (35:55:23) and Joshua Pascual (35:56:34) and Team Nueva Ecija’s Marcelo Felipe (35:58:53).
Navy claimed its seventh Ronda team crown with a total clocking of 103:56:27 while claiming other individual awards—Oranza (Twin Cycle Gear King of the Mountain), and Jeremy Lizardo (MVP Under-23 and Gogo Express Top Rookie).
Ironically, the only trophy Navy failed to snare was the award that its patron is sponsoring — the Standard Insurance Sprint King plum — that went to Felipe.
Excellent Noodles finished second in its debut with a time of 35:56:34 while sending 12 of its riders to podium finishes including six stage wins that was capped by Ryan Tugawin’s victorious Stage 10 effort in 1:17:15.
Oconer was second with the same clocking while Go for Gold’s Ronnilan Quita was third in 1:17:16.
Meanwhile, Excellent Noodles racing captain Santy Barnachea announced that he would retiring for good after delaying it to lead his squad to a solid performance.
“I’m retiring after 25 years in cycling, I will focus on coaching,” said the 47-year-old two-time Ronda winner.