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Cycling

711-Air 21’s Marcelo Felipe claims gold in Guimaras after photo finish thriller


Marcelo Felipe of 711 Cliqq-Air21 edged El Joshua Carino of Navy-Standard Insurance to rule Stage Two, even as Matrix Powertag Japan’s Francisco Mancebo Perez kept the solo general classification lead in the 2019 LBC Ronda Pilipinas, that went around the whole of Guimaras, Saturday.

Felipe, who will turn 29 on Sunday, out-sprinted Carino in a mad dash to the finish. The two clocked identical times of two hours, 40 minutes and 19 seconds to claim the latter’s very first Ronda stage victory.

Go for Gold’s Jonel Carcueva checked in at third to complete the Filipinos’ domination of the stage. Still, Mancebo – a Tour de France veteran who made his presence felt with a dominating Stage One triumph the day before – and his Matrix squad successfully protected the symbolic LBC red leader’s jersey.

The 42-year-old Mancebo smarly stayed with his closest pursuers Ronald Oranza, the reigning Ronda king; Jan Paul Morales, a two-time winner here, of Navy-Standard Insurance; and Dominic Perez of 7Eleven in the peloton, to stay on top with an aggregate clocking of 7:47:298.

Oranza was at No. 2 (3:52 behind), Perez at No. 3 (4:01), and Morales at No. 4 with (4:45).

Rounding up the top 10 were Matrix’s Junya Sano (4:53); Korail Team Korea’s Joo Daeyeong (4:58); 7Eleven’s Irish Valenzuela (5:20); Army Bicycology’s Mark Julius Bordeos (5:20); and 7Eleven’s Rustom Lim (5:28).

Felipe’s stage triumph catapulted him straight to the top 10 and 6:26 off the pace.

The stage triumph was extra special since all three podium finishers were Filipinos.

“It makes me happy that three Filipinos finished in the top three,” said Felipe in Filipino.

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Like in the individual race, there were no changes in the team event, as Matrix kept its stranglehold of the lead with a total clocking of 23:34:13, followed by 7Eleven (2:47 behind), and Navy-Standard Insurance (3:31).

Ronda Pilipinas 2019 is presented by LBC, powered by MVP Sports Foundation and supported by Versa 2-Way Radio, Juan Movement Partylist, Joel P Longares Foundation, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, Green Planet, Prolite, Celeste Cycles, Maynilad, 3Q Sports, Boy Kanin, Mega World, Festive Walk, Seda Atria and LBC Foundation and in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Department of Environment, and Natural Resources, Iloilo City and the Province of Guimaras.

The race will resume on Sunday with the 179.4-km Iloilo-Roxas Stage Three.

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