GO for Gold Developmental Team’s Jay Lampawog seeks to finish strong in the final four stages of the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC with hopes of completing what he already considers a fairy tale run.
Coming into the 12-stage race with little expectation, the 20-year-old Lampawog defied the odds and zoomed to third in the overall individual race when no one expected him to and is a clear favorite to win the MVP Sports Foundation Best Young Rider trophy.
The Go for Gold Developmental Team has also ridden the shoulder of Lampawog to zoom to second overall in the team classification behind Navy-Standard Insurance.
“I feel I’m in a dream, I couldn’t believe that I’m up there with the best of Philippine cycling,” said Lampawog, a native of Villasis, Pangasinan. “My goal now is to finish strong and get my self-confidence going home.”
It was a phenomenal performance for Lampawog, who has an aggregate clocking of 21 hours and 19.31 minutes to be at third overall behind leader Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance with 21:01:56 and another Navy bet and reigning back-to-back titlist Jan Paul Morales with 21:08:51.
Lampawog has outperformed former Ronda kings Santy Barnachea of Team Franzia and Irish Valenzuela of CCN Superteam, as well as other contenders like national team mainstay George Oconer of Go for Gold’s main team, Army-Bicycology’s Cris Joven and last year’s runner-up Rudy Roque of Navy.
Thanks also to Lampawog, Go for Gold Developmental team has leapfrogged to No. 2 in the overall team race with an aggregate clocking of 82:52:24, behind only the heavily favored Navy-Standard with 82:19:52 and ahead of No. 3 Army-Bicycology with 83:10:47.
Lampawog’s coach, Eds Hualda, isn’t a bit surprised with her ward’s strong effort in the race.
“The first time we took him in into our team, we knew he [Lampawog] is special,” Hualda said. “So we really expected him to do good this year and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, I think he can also be a Ronda Pilipinas champion someday.”
Lampawog said that’s his dream.
“Everyone in cycling wants to be a champion, that’s my dream too,” Lampawog said.
The last four stages will consist of a punishing 207.2-km Silang-Batangas-Tagaytay Stage Nine on Thursday, the 147.8-km Tagaytay-Calaca Stage 10 on Friday and the 92.72-km Calaca-Calaca Stage 11 on Saturday. The Ronda will wind up with the 50-km Filinvest Alabang criterium Stage 12 on Sunday.