Ronald Oranza officially crowned himself the new champion of the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC by coming through with one of the most dominant performances in the race’s eight-year history before a sizeable crowd at the Filinvest, Alabang yesterday.
Already ensured of the crown and his place in Ronda history, the Villasis, Pangasinan native didn’t relent and still went for it as he did the whole race and ended up second behind Stage 12 criterium winner Jan Paul Morales and ahead of Junrey Navarra in an all Navy-Standard Insurance podium finish, clocking one hour, 28 minutes and 15 seconds.
After 12 grueling stages that started in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Oranza totaled 34:11:23 to best all comers including Morales, the titlist in the last two editions who finished second and about 11 minutes behind with 34:22:56.
When the smoke of battle dissipated, Oranza was joined in the celebration by an adoring crowd that included Ronda Executive Project director Moe Chulani and Standard Insurance president Ernesto Echauz in this race presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, Filinvest, Philippine Rabbit, 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.
For his effort, Oranza will pocket a cool P1 million plus P300,000 worth of Boy Kanin franchise and the beautifully-crafted trophy and place in that exclusive club of Ronda champions also composed of two-time winners Morales and Santy Baranchea of Team Franzia, Irish Valenzuela of CCN Superteam, Mac Galedo and Butuan City’s Reimon Lapaza.
“I can’t feel anything but happiness,” said the 25-year-old Oranza in Filipino.
And domination is the word that best described Oranza’s effort as he took the overall lead as early as the second round and posting nine podium finishes including victories in Stages One in Vigan, Two in Pagudpud and Seven in Tarlac along the way.
He was just a class above anyone else.
The 26-year-old Navara, a proud son of General Santos, for his part, wound up third overall in 34:33:06 while taking home his fourth CCN King of the Mountain trophy while Morales added the Petron Sprint King award to his growing collection of trophies.
Navy was also the undisputed winner in the Versa team race, clocking 135:13:47 ahead of Army-Bicycology, a team sponsored by former Phl Sports Commission and Games and Amusement Board chair Eric Buhain, with 136:56:19 and Go for Gold Developmental team with 136:59:26.
Go for Gold Developmental team’s Jay Lampawog snatched the only award that Navy failed to win as by becoming the MVP Sports Foundation Young Rider winner.
Go for Gold’s George Oconer finished fourth overall in 34:38:15, Navy’s Jhon Mark Camingao fifth in 34:39:30 and Army-Bicycology’s Cris Joven sixth in 34:41:21.
Rounding up the top 10 were Go for Gold’s Boots Ryan Cayubit (34:43:50), Navy’s El Joshua Carino (34:45:32), Go for Gold Developmental team’s Lampawog (34:48:03) and Navy’s Rudy Roque (34:49:52).
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