LUCENA CITY—Facing the longest grind in the 11th LBC Ronda Pilipinas, Jonel Carcueva of Go for Gold on Monday gave it his best and got rewarded for it.
The 26-year-old Cebu native checked in a fighting seventh in Stage Five that took the gritty protagonists to a 212.5-kilometer trek from Daet to here, clocking five hours, 17 minutes and 49 seconds to become the new overall individual leader as the standings got a shakeup for the second straight day.
With a total time of 15:02:52, Carcueva shoved Jan Paul Morales down to second spot at 15:04:09 even as 23-year-old Joshua Mari Bonifacio of Excellent Noodles ruled the lung-busting leg in 5:15:59 for the first stage win of his young career.
“Being a mountain biker taught me tricks in riding downhill and this experience helped me [in this stage],” said Carcueva, whose best finish was sixth overall four years ago, in Filipino.
The overhaul in the top 10 saw Mervin Corpuz of Excellent Noodles sliding a rung down to No. 3 at 15:04:29 and Daniel Ven Cariño zooming to No. 4 from No. 13 with a 15:04:44 aggregate.The race enters its second half on Tuesday with the 157.4-km Lucena-Tagaytay journey making up Stage Six.
And with just five laps to go, Morales didn’t sound worried when asked of losing the lead.
“I’m okay, there were just so many opponents guarding me,” said the 36-year-old 2016 and 2017 Ronda king.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.