SKIPPER Lloyd Lucien Reynante entered Ronda 2017 hoping one of the Navy riders would claim the title. Now a podium sweep looks possible, with Navymen Rudy Roque, Ronald Lomotos, Daniel Ven Carino and defending champion Jan Paul Morales in the top four after five stages.
"Our target is first place, if we can get second and third places, it will be a bonus," said the 38-year-old Reynante.
"We're also hoping four of our eight riders get inside the top 10."
Red jersey Roque has an aggregate time of 18 hours, 12 minutes and 48 seconds followed by Lomotos (18:13:47), Carino (18:14:43) and Morales (18:15:51).
Still, Reynante said focus is on No. 1 and he revealed the team’s plans to secure the title in the 14-stage race.
"Our agreement was we will support who will remain at first place after the ITT in Iloilo," he said, referring to the Stage 12 individual time trial in Iloilo City on March 2.
Cris Joven of Kinetix Lab-Army is expected to challenge Navy as he is currently at No. 5 overall with a time of 18:15:51 after jumping from 24th in Stage One to No. 4 after the fifth stage.
Rounding out the top 10 were Go for Gold's Elmer Navarro (18:17:57), RC Cola-NCR's Leonel Dimaano (18:18:01), Go for Gold's Ismael Grospe, Jr. (18:19:02), Army's Lord Anthony del Rosario (18:19:44) and Go for Gold's Jonel Carcueva (18:20:33).
"I'm feeling okay, I like my pacing. I hope to move closer in the next few stages," said Joven, an Army private first class who hails from Iriga City.
The race resumes on Tuesday with the 46.6-km Pili to San Jose Stage Six Team Time Trial with Navy (72:48:47) aiming to preserve its lead.
The Ronda individual champion will receive P1 million courtesy of presentor LBC and in partnership with MVP Sports Foundation, Petron, Mitsubishi, Versa.ph, Partas, Maynilad, Standard Insurance, CCN, Bike Xtreme, NLEX, PhilCycling and 3Q Sports Event Management.