RONALD Oranza crowned himself the new champion of Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC with one of the most dominant performances in the race’s eight-year history.
Already assured of the title, the Villasis, Pangasinan native didn't eased up on the pedal as he finished behind Stage 12 criterium winner Jan Paul Morales and ahead of Junrey Navarra in an all Navy-Standard Insurance podium finish before a sizeable crowd at Filinvest, Alabang on Sunday.
With a one-hour, 28-minute, 15-second clocking, Oranza totaled 34:11:23 to best all comers including Morales, the titlist in the last two editions who finished second and about 11 minutes behind at the end of the 12-lap event that started in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
Oranza won a cool P1 million plus P300,000 worth of Boy Kanin franchise and a place in the elite club of Ronda champions made up of two-time winners Morales and Santy Baranchea of Team Franzia, Irish Valenzuela of CCN Superteam, Mac Galedo and Butuan City’s Reimon Lapaza.
“I can’t feel anything but happiness,” said the 25-year-old Oranza in Filipino.
Domination is the word that best described Oranza’s effort as he took the overall lead as early as the second round and posting nine podium finishes including victories in Stages One in Vigan, Two in Pagudpud and Seven in Tarlac along the way.
He was just a class above the rest.
The 26-year-old Navara, a proud son of General Santos, wound up third overall in 34:33:06 while taking home his fourth CCN King of the Mountains trophy while Morales added the Petron Sprint King award to his growing collection of trophies.
Navy was also the undisputed winner in the Versa team race, clocking 135:13:47 ahead of Army-Bicycology, a team sponsored by former Phl Sports Commission and Games and Amusement Board chair Eric Buhain, with 136:56:19 and Go for Gold Developmental team with 136:59:26.
Go for Gold Developmental team’s Jay Lampawog snatched the only award that Navy failed to win by becoming the MVP Sports Foundation Young Rider winner.
Go for Gold’s George Oconer finished fourth overall in 34:38:15, Navy’s Jhon Mark Camingao fifth in 34:39:30 and Army-Bicycology’s Cris Joven sixth in 34:41:21.
Rounding up the top 10 were Go for Gold’s Boots Ryan Cayubit (34:43:50), Navy’s El Joshua Carino (34:45:32), Go for Gold Developmental team’s Lampawog (34:48:03) and Navy’s Rudy Roque (34:49:52).
Oranza was joined in celebration by an adoring crowd that included Ronda executive project director Moe Chulani and Standard Insurance president Ernesto Echauz in this race presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, Filinvest, Philippine Rabbit, CCN, Petron, Versa.ph, 3Q Sports Event Management, Inc., Boy Kanin, Franzia, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, SH+, Guerciotti, Prolite, Green Planet, Maynilad, NLEX Sports, Lightwater, LBC Foundation and PhilCycling.