ALL eyes are on the Navy-Standard Insurance cyclists again as the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016 five-stage Luzon Leg fires off on Sunday at the Paseo de Santa Rosa in Laguna.
The Navymen dominated the first two legs with Jan Paul Morales winning in Mindanao and Ronald Oranza ruling the Visayas races.
"I felt the heat in the Visayas but I handled it," said Morales, who still finished in the top 10 in the Visayas after his Mindanao triumph.
"Bring it on," said Oranza, who hails from Villasis, Pangasinan.
Rudy Roque is another Navyman to watch after he wound up second in the Visayas.
"If I will have my chance, I'll take it," said Roque, a native of Bataan.
Navy skipper Lloyd Lucien Reynante hopes his teammates wouldn’t take it easy after dominating the earlier races.
"We'll go for a sweep," said Reynante, who himself did well the last time after he ended up fourth overall in the last leg.
"The opposition is getting stronger and we expect it to get even more tougher in Luzon," he said.
LBC-MVP Sports Foundation’s Ronnilan Quita, an unheralded rider out of San Jose, Tarlac, placed second in Stage Four behind former Tour champion Joel Calderon of Navy.
Rustom Lim snatched a stage victory from Navy by reigning supreme in the final stage also in Roxas City that catapulted him to a second place finish overall.
"We expect them to really challenge us and we know they will be more dangerous in Luzon," said Reynante. "But we will be ready for them because we only took a brief break during the Lenten Season to get back to training."
After the Paseo Stage One criterium, the race continues with the Stage Two Individual Time Trial that will unfurl in Talisay City in Batangas and end in scenic Tagaytay City.
Antipolo City will host Stage Three with a criterium on April 6 before LBC Ronda closes with a Stage Four road race from Dagupan City to Baguio on April 8 and another criterium in the Summer Capital on April 9. The event, organized by LBC Express, is sanctioned by PhilCycling and sponsored by Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp. with Maynilad and NLEX as minor sponsors.