TARLAC—Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance kept his stranglehold on the overall individual lead as he finished second behind George Oconer of Go for Gold in the 111.8-kilometer Stage 6 of the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC that started in San Jose, Nueva Ecija and ended at the Provincial Capitol here yesterday.
Oranza, 26, finished second behind the stage winner Oconer with identical clocking of two hours and 37.04 minutes that kept the former comfortably perched on top in the overall individual race with an aggregate time of 20:17:12.
The proud son of Villasis, Pangasinan, however, hurt his knee and left thumb after he figured in a crash in Camiling, Tarlac, where he was bumped from behind by Go for Gold Developmental team’s Roel Quitoy, who in turn got hit by a motorcycle-riding marshal.
Oranza will continue to don the red LBC leader’s jersey in today’s Stage 6 individual time trial that starts at 8 p.m. at the provincial capitol and ends at the Monasterio de Tarlac situated on top of a mountain in San Jose, Tarlac.
“It hurts a lot, I hope it gets better in the coming stages,” said Oranza.
For the 25-year-old Oconer, it was his first lap triumph of the 12-stage race, which is presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, Filinvest, CCN, Petron, Versa.ph, 3Q Sports Event Management Inc., Boy Kanin, Franzia, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, SH+, Guerciotti, Prolite, Green Planet, Maynilad, NLEX Sports, Lightwater, LBC Foundation and PhilCycling, staking a whopping P1 million to the champion.
“I’m just happy to win my first stage this year,” said Oconer, whose best finish came three years ago when he placed second behind eventual titlist Santy Barnachea of Team Franzia.
Oconer though remained eighth in the overall standings with 20:31:22.
The 32-year-old Morales, who is seeking a historic third straight Ronda title, checked in with the peloton nine seconds off the pace and remained at second with a total clocking of 20:22:20.
Along the way, the Calumpang, Marikina City-based Morales took one intermediate sprint lap to continue to hold sway as overall sprint leader or the wearer of the blue Petron jersey.
Ronald Lomotos of Navy-Standard was at No. 3 with 20:26:09, Jay Lampawog of Go for Gold Developmental team at No. 4 with 20:28:25, Cris Joven of Army-Bicycology at No. 5 with 20:28:48 and Ronnel Hualda of Go for Gold Developmental team at No. 6 with 20:29:47.
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