Antipolo City — Another stage, another show of force for Jan Paul Morales.
The top bet of the Navy-Standard Insurance became just the first rider in the history of Ronda to win three straight stages as he claimed the Stage Three AntipoloCriterium yesterday here.
But this time he won it by the skin of his teeth.
Morales edged out LBC-MVP’s George Oconer in the final lap of an exciting finish right in front of the well-known HinulugangTaktak following a one-hour plus three lap race which ran two kilometer long.
The 30-year-old cyclist out of Marikina negotiated the race in one hour, eight minutes and 25.8 seconds, seven seconds ahead of Oconer who clocked 1:08:32.9, while completing the podium is Navy’s Jhon Mark Camingao (1:08:37.99).
“Nahirapannatalagaako.MabutinalangandunsiJhon Mark naalalayanniyaako,” said Morales after the win.
Morales looked faded and weary heading into the final lap as Oconer took the leadership entering the final loop.
But with the help of teammate in Camingao, Morales was able to recover and bolt past his closest rival in Oconer as he put up three fingers in the air, signifying his historic win.
With the win, Morales added up another 15 points to his point tally which is now at 45 extending his lead to Oconer by 14 points as the LBC rider still sits at a far second with 31 points heading into the 120 kilometer Dagupan-Baguio road race tomorrow.
“Siguro akin na. 45 points na e, perokailanganko pa rinmagingat. Bastaandunangmgakakampiko,” Morales added.
Rustom Lim of LBC still sits at third place with a total of 29 points,Camingao is at fourth with 25 points, as LBC’s Ronald Lomotos is at fifth with 16.
In an unexpected turn of events, Visayas leg winner Ronald Oranza retired from the race after crashing while negotiating a sharp curve.