SILANG, Cavite - Cris Joven outsprinted Reimon Lapaza and Frenchman Peter Pouly in the final stretch to seize victory in Stage Two and the overall lead in the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014.
Joven of 7-Eleven team and Lapaza of Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao stuck with the Pouly-led breakaway group before making his move in the final three kilometers to snatch individual honors in the stage considered as one of the toughest in the 14-lap race.
The 27-year-old rider clocked four hours, 58 minutes, and 46 seconds in the stage that was fired off in Muntinlupa and ended in this historic Cavite town for his first lap victory.
“I’m thankful to have a chance of winning a lap again because last year my best finish were one second place and two third place,” said Joven, a native of Iriga City, Camarines Sur, in Filipino.
The feat also sent Joven to the top of the overall standings with an aggregate time of 6:67.37, four seconds ahead of the unheralded Lapaza, who made his first podium finish in his fourth stint in the race presented by LBC, the largest courier and cargo company.
“I’m happy to just be in the top three because I’ve never finished better than sixth place in a lap in the first three Ronda editions,” said the 25-year-old Lapaza, a native of Davao who checked in with a time of 4:59.14 that vaulted him to second overall at 6:67.41.
Pouly of Infinite-Singha towed Joven and Lapaza in the mountain stages but needed to hang tough in the end to finish third in 4:59.48.
Pouly, however, emerged as the new King of the Mountain leader after Stage 2.
“It was a tough stage, I’m just glad to finish,” said Pouly.
Reigning champion Irish Valenzuela of Philippine Army cracked the Top 10 after clocking 5:03.56 to enhance his bid to become the first two-time winner of the meet presented by MVP Sports Foundation, NLEX, Maynilad, PLDT and Mitsubishi, Versa 2 Way Radio and Standard Insurance.
Completing the Top 10 were Matrix Powertag’s Daiki Yasuhara (5:02.40), PLDT-Maynilad’s Ronald Oranza (5:02.40), Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao’s Merculio Ramos (5:02.49), Phl Navy-Standard Insurance’s Joel Calderon ((5:02.49), Cebu-Kalit Air Force’s Oscar Rindole (5:02.51), and Navy-Standard’s Santy Barnachea (5:02:54), the first Ronda king.
Stage 3 is set Monday, a 144.4-km race that starts in Amadeo, Cavite and concludes in San Pablo City, Laguna.