JAN PAUL Morales of Navy-Standard Insurance bested everyone in a mass finish to rule the Stage Three of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2019 that started in Iloilo and ended at the Roxas City Hall on Sunday.
Morales, a two-time champion, came up with a strong finishing kick in the final 500 meters of the 179.4-kilometer Stage Three to finish the race in four hours, 35 minutes, and 18 seconds.
Morales edged Dominic Perez of 711 Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines and Indonesian Projo Waseso of Nex Cycling Team, who finished second and third place, respectively.
“I’m so happy because this first time a won a stage in a UCI race and I beat my idol (two-time Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Mohd Harriff) Saleh of Malaysia,” said Morales.
It was the second time that a Filipino topped a stage after Marcelo Felipe of 711 bested 2018 Le Tour titlist El Joshua Carino of Navy-Standard to snare the Stage Two win last Saturday in Guimaras.
Tour de France veteran Francisco Mancebo Perez, meanwhile, remained on top in the individual overall tally and his Matrix Powertag Japan team continued to lead both divisions by a mile.
Perez rode intelligently and successfully defended the lead and checked in at ninth in the stage. He is comfortably perched on top with an aggregate time of 12:22:46, or 3:52 minutes.
Behind Perez in the overall tally were reigning Ronda champion Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard and Perez, who registered his second podium finish after winding up second in Stage One in Iloilo./PN