It was twice as difficult as his usual training route but Mangaldan, Pangasinan native El Joshua Carino still managed to top the fifth stage of the Ronda Pilipinas 2013 yesterday here in Cebu.
The 19-year-old rider of the PLDT-Spyder team conquered what many considered was the “Killer Stage” of the tour as he crossed the finish line at the Mountain View Nature Park in barangay Busay, Cebu City in four hours 34 minutes and 55 seconds.
The fifth stage started at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall grounds and brought riders to northwestern towns as far as Tabuelan before heading back via Balamban and the transcentral highway to the finish line. The entire route covered a total of 156.8 kilometers.
“Mabuti na lang po matagal akong nag training sa Bayombong (Nueva Viscaya) at Baguio kaya kinaya ko yung hirap dito sa Cebu,” said Carino, a former member of team Pangasinan. “Pero hindi ko inakala na dodoble ang hirap na dadanasin ko.”
Carino’s victory yesterday—his first in cash-rich cycling races— put him in the top of the list of the overall best young riders and second in the overall individual standings. Carino has an accumulated time of 18:22:48 while Irish Valenzuela tops the list in the overall individual with 18:21.12, overtaking previous leader Philippine Navy’s Santy Barnachea.
Valenzuela, of the American Vinyl-LPGMA, finished second (4:37.41) yesterday. Marvin Tapic of Y101FM Cebu managed to claim third place honors (4:39.21).
“I had a fine performance but a very tiring one,” said Tapic. “I managed to lead when we entered the trans central highway but I lost it midway and managed to push myself to third spot.”
Ronald Oranza, Carino’s teammate placed fourth (4:39.39) and is now third in the overall individual race. Their efforts helped PLDT-Spyder take the top spot in the team standings with V-Mobile Smart in second place and Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance dropping to third.
The tour continues its sixth stage in Luzon this Sunday from Malolos, Bulacan to Tarlac.