January 29, 2023

The return of the Ronda Pilipinas in Baguio after several years has revived anew bids to solicit interest among local cyclists to aspire to compete in the biggest cycling event in the country.
Local cyclists witnessed how Daniel Ven Cariño of the powerhouse Standard Insurance-Navy clinched the difficult stage 8 that started in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija and ended at the Burnham Park Lake on Tuesday afternoon.
The 21-year-old Cariño clinched the top spot in the 170-kilometer stage 8 from the group of 10 cyclists who were the first group to reach the finish line with a time of 4:30:04.
But despite finishing sixth place in stage 8, Ronda Pilipinas 2020 champion George Oconer remained the man to beat with two more stages left last week.
“I’m thankful for my teammates for helping me, we treat each other as brothers,” said Oconer.
The 28-year-old Oconer eventually took the overall championship trophy and the P1 million purse on Thursday after the criterion race in Vigan City.
It was a sweet victory for Oconer who finished third in the inaugural edition in 2011 and second in 2015.
Oconer is the son of two-time Olympian Norberto, who was part of the national team that saw action in the 1996 Marlboro tour in Baguio.
Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong who welcomed the cyclists and the organizers thanked them for bringing back Baguio as part of the biggest cycling event, saying that it would soon encourage future cyclists in the highlands to compete in the future.
This year’s race was an all-Filipino tournament with 11 teams, unlike last year when Spanish Francisco Mancebo of Matrix Powertag won the event.
This year’s edition of the cycling race is an extension of their support for PhilCycling, the country’s cycling federation, in its Olympic quest following its holding of a five-stage Union Cycliste Internationale-sanctioned race last year. – Harley F. Palangchao