BALER, AURORA—Sticking to his closest pursuers like a leech, Ronald Oranza of Navy Standard Insurance on Thursday clung to the overall jersey of leadership in the 11th LBC Ronda Pilipinas after checking in fourth in Stage Seven ruled by Ryan Tugawin of Excellent Noodles.
After snaring the red jersey on Wednesday, Oranza knew what to do in the 174.5-kilometer journey from the Tarlac Provincial Capitol to here as he kept Jan Paul Morales of Excellent Noodles and Jonel Carcueva of Go for Gold in check as they arrived together in the fourth wave in four hours, 32 minutes and 18 seconds, less than a minute behind the lap winner.
“I expect the three of us to guard each other closely again in the next stage,” said the 29-year-old Oranza, who now has an aggregate clocking of 23:18:22, with Morales and Carcueva taking their respective times of 23:19:04 and 23:21:19 into the 174.4-km Baler to Echague, Isabela, eighth lap on Friday.
Tugawin, meanwhile, won the second stage of his career after timing 4:31:16 and nipping El Joshua Cariño as the 32-year-old barged into the Top 10 and remained mathematically in the hunt to rule the individual race.
Marcelo Felipe of Team Nueva Ecija was third in the stage in 4:31:18 and also vaulted into contention.
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