Rustom Lim of PLDT-Spyder took the top spot in the eighth stage from Olongapo to Alaminos City in the Ronda Pilipinas 2013 yesterday.
Lim, the third placer in the tour’s second stage in Mindanao, completed the 183.4-kilometer stretch in four hours, 27 minutes and 23 seconds to win this leg of the 16-stage prestigious cycling event.
He also dethroned stage seven top placer and teammate Ronald Oranza for the best young rider award. But Oranza will don the yellow jersey since he is still the overall best young rider of the race.
Mark Julius Bonzo also of PLDT-Spyder placed second with a time of 4:27.47. Merculio Ramos of Team Tarlac finished in a virtual tie with Bonzo but had to settle for third after a close review of their photo finish.
The victories of Lim and Bonzo helped put PLDT-Spyder on top the team stage standings. But American Vinyl LPGMA still leads the overall team standings with PLDT-Spyder at second place. Philippine Navy Standard Insurance is at third. Cebu Y101FM improved to sixth place.
Meanwhile, Irish Valenzuela of American Vinyl-LPGMA remains the overall individual leader followed by Oranza and Cris Joven. Ronald Gorantes of Road Bike Philippines is at fourth while Santy Barnachea of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance is at fifth. Stage five top placer El Joshua Carino of PLDT-Spyder is at sixth followed by V-Mobile’s Joel Calderon, Cebu’s Marvin Tapic, 2012 defending champion Mark John Galedo of Road Bike Philippines and Ramos.
From Olongapo City the race route passed through towns such as San Marcelino, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba, Candelaria before ending at Alaminos, Pangasinan.
The ninth stage kicks off on tomorrow in Mangaldan, Pangasinan going to Vigan, Ilocos Sur. This leg boasts of the event’s longest distance of 230 kilometers. Before going into that stage, participants and organizers will take a rest today and engage themselves in a clean-up drive in the Hundred Islands in Pangasinan.