Young rider Mendoza edges out veteran Ronda in Stage 3 – Manila Bulletin

(Left to right) Go for Gold’s Aiden Mendoza, Excellent Noodles’ Mervin Corpuz, Army’s Cris Joven and Excellent Noodles’ Ryan Tugawin.

LEGAZPI CITY—Go for Gold’s Aidan Mendoza claimed his first lap win of his young career even as Excellent Noodles’ Jan Paul Morales clung to the overall lead despite cramping on the 163-kilometre third stage which started in Sorsogon City and ended at the Kalayaan Park here on Saturday.

Mendoza, 22, edged Mervin Corpuz and Ryan Tugawin of Excellent Noodles and six others in the final mile to claim his decisive stage triumph in four hours and 20 seconds and climb into the top 10 of the general classification race individual with a total time of 5:33:38.

Mendoza, who finished third in Stage 6 Tarlac-Tarlac two years ago, then dedicated his win to Go for Gold team manager Jeremy Go, who turned the page on the same day.

“It’s for our boss Jeremy Go,” said Mendoza, who decided to skip college to focus on racing.

Corpuz, nephew of Excellent Noodles skipper and two-time king of Ronda Santy Barnachea, and Tugawan were an exhausted duo having been part of the 11-man breakaway group in the first 10km and settled for a podium with one timed identical to that of Mendoza.

Also in that front runner were Tabaco, Albay, a Cris Joven native from Army, Marcelo Felipe from Nueva Ecija, 2018 winner Ronald Oranza and John Mark Camingao from Navy Standard Insurance, and Edson Corbadora and Landerson Nebres from Drey.

Morales, for his part, battled cramps finishing in a 10-man pursuit group with a time of 4:00:30 to keep his grip on the overall lead in 5:31:59 and would wear the jersey. red LBC in the 189.1 km Legazpi-Daet Fourth stage today.

“I was already feeling cramps in the last 20 kilometers but I decided to endure it,” said Morales, 36, who is aiming for his third crown in Ronda after reigning supreme in 2016 and 2017.

Interestingly, four of Morales’ teammates – Tugawin, Barnachea, Corpuz and Mar Francis Sudario – crack the top five with times of 5:32:39, 5:32:43; 5:32:51 and 5:34:30.

The top 10 was completed by Ronnilan Quita of Go for Gold (5:34:39), Oranza (5:35:04), Jonel Carcueva of Go for Gold (5:35:18), Jericho Jay Lucero (5:35 :32) and Mendoza.

Defending champion George Oconer of Navy Standard Insurance improved a little from No. 19 to No. 13 in 5:35:16.

This annual sports spectacle bets on a pot of 3.5 million pesos, including 1 million pesos for the champion courtesy of LBC Express, Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Quad X, Smart, Twin Cycle Gear, Standard Insurance, Print2Go, Elves Bicycles, Elitewheels, Orome, Maynilad, PhilHydro, Garmin, Petron, Boy Kanin, Green Planet Bikeshop, Prolite, Fujiwara, Black Mamba Energy Drink, Lightwater, LBC Foundation, PhilCycling and the Games and Amusements Board.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY NEWSLETTER

CLICK HERE TO JOIN

Earnest L. Veasey