RONALD Oranza outsprinted George Oconer Jr. to snatch the Stage Two victory in Antipolo on Tuesday and complete a sweep of the Luzon qualifying legs of the Ronda Pilipinas 2015.
A day after ruling Stage One in Tarlac City, the 22-year-old Oranza again came out on top, passing Oconer with 200 meters remaining, finishing the 102.7-kilometer race in two hours, 34 minutes and 41 seconds.
Oranza had a two-day total clocking of 6:06.42, besting fellow Navymen Jan Paul Morales (6:07.22 ) and Santy Barnachea (6:07.58).
"It's a good start for me," said Oranza, a member of the national team who is now an enlisted Navyman, in Filipino.
It was a dominating performance by Oranza, who also emerged the King of the Mountain and sprint king.
Oranza pocketed a total cash prize of P123,000 — P50,000 for posting the best two-day total time, another P50,000 for topping Stages One and Two, P20,000 for emerging the KOM and sprint winner and an extra P3,000 for his intermediate sprint win the day before.
A consistent top 10 finisher in the past four editions, Oranza is now hoping to claim the overall title this year.
Oranza, Morales and Barnachea along with over 30 top riders in the Luzon races, will join the Visayas qualifiers, last year's champion Reimon Lapaza, the national team headed by Mark Galedo and a composite European team in the Championship round set February 22 to 27 from Sta. Rosa in Laguna to Baguio.
But the 38-year-old Barnachea, the inaugural champion four years ago, was quick to downplay their chances.
"I think Mark Galedo is still the rider to beat in the finals," said Barnachea.
The national finals start with a 60-km criterium around Greenfield City in Sta. Rosa in the morning and a 120.5-km stage from Calamba to the Quezon National Park passing Tatlong Eme in Atimonan in the afternoon.
Ronda, presented by LBC, supported by Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron, Mitsubishi, Cannondale, Standard Insurance, Tech1 Corp., Maynilad and NLEX, and sanctioned by PhilCycling with TV5 and Sports Radio as media partners, will pass Lucena, Antipolo, Malolos, Tarlac, Dagupan before winding up in Baguio.