ROXAS CITY - Finally, a rider from another team other than Philippine Navy Standard Insurance ruled a stage in the 2016 LBC Ronda Pilipinas.
LBC-MVP rider Rustom Lim ended the stranglehold of Philippine Navy Standard Insurance riders on the annual race as the Visayas leg came to an end in the pristine city of Capiz on Thursday.
Lim, a young skipper from Guimba, Nueva Ecija, snared the stage victory by clocking 49 minutes and 13.92 seconds in the 41-km Individual Time Trial. His 15-point performance also propelled him to a Top 3 finish in the general classification.
Still, the biggest winner was Philippine Navy's Ronald Oranza, who finishe fourth in the stage to formally crown himself the Visayas Leg champion after amassing 53 points.
"Alam ko naman na kahit one point lang ako sa Stage 4 kanina, ako pa rin ang mananalo ng titulo, kasi eight points ang lamang ko kay Rudy (Roque), mahirap nang habulin yun," said Oranza.
"Pero syempre, kinabahan ako dahil alam ko na kaunting pagkakamali ko sa ITT, tanggal sa akin ang korona," added the soft-spoken Pangasinense rider who stepped on the gas in the final 10 kilometers of the race.
Meanwhile, Mindanao leg champion Jan Paul Morales took the Sprint (ASG Green jersey) and King of the Mountain (Mitsubishi Polka Dot jersey) titles after a splendid performance in the first 90 kilometers of the massed start race stage 3 last Tuesday.
Young rider Novedane Alejado of Team Iloilo won the Local Hero (Petron Blue jersey) while Melobert Rico emerged as the Inspiring Visayan rider (MVP Sports Foundation yellow jersey).
Ronda Pilipinas action will shift to Luzon starting on April 3 in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and will have stops in Tagaytay, Antipolo, Dagupan and Baguio.