El Joshua Cariño reaped the fruits of his hard labor and was gifted by Navy-Standard Insurance teammates Ronald Oranza and Jan Paul Morales the Stage Five victory in the Ronda Pilipinas presented by LBC that started in Echague in Isabela and finished in front of the San Jose City Hall in Nueva Ecija on Thursday.
Carino, 24, led an early breakaway and also instigated the action in the final 6 kilometers as he towed along Oranza and Morales who practically escorted him to the stage victory in four hours, six minutes and 58 seconds.
The all-Navy podium finish kept Oranza comfortably perched on top of the general classification with an aggregate time of 17:40:13 and Morales, the defending back-to-back champion, a little less than five minutes off at second with 17:45:12.
Jay Lampawog of Go for Gold Developmental Team was at No. 3 with 17:48:56, Cris Joven of Army-Bicycology at No. 4 with 17:51:16 and Ronald Lomotos of Navy-Standard at No. 5 with 17:51:35.
Rounding up the top 10 were CCN Superteam’s Irish Valenzuela (17:52:34), Go for Gold Developmental Team’s Ronnel Hualda (17:52:34), Navy-Standard Insurance’s John Mark Camingao (17:54:26) and Rudy Roque (17:55:04) and Team Franzia’s Leonel Dimaano (17:55:10).
It also kept Navy at the helm in the team classification with 70:54:59, almost half an hour ahead of Go for Gold Developmental Team (71:24:25) in the race presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, Filinvest, CCN, Petron, Versa.ph, 3Q Sports Event Management, Inc., Boy Kanin, Franzia, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, SH+, Guerciotti, Prolite, Green Planet, Maynilad, NLEX Sports, Lightwater, LBC Foundation and PhilCycling.
Army-Bicycology was third with 71:41:45.
It was the first stage victory this year and fourth overall in the Ronda Carino, a strong climber. He also became the third Navyman to win a stage this year after Oranza (Stage One and Two) and Morales (Stage Four). Army’s Cris Joven ruled Stage Three.
“They [Oranza and Morales] already have stage victories, while I just won one now,” said Morales, a proud son of Mangaldan, Pangasinan.
Oranza was just comfortable to play domestique to Carino and Morales for most part of the 179.4-km stage.
“If it’s for the good of the team, I don’t mind doing it because I know they will also help me if I need it,” said Oranza, who is seeking his first Ronda title. He wound up second to Morales two years ago.
Oranza will continue to don the leader’s red jersey in the 111.8-km Stage Six today starting at the San Jose City Hall and ending at the Tarlac Provincial Capitol.