It was a bittersweet day for the Y101FM/Cebu cycling team in stage 8 of the 2012 Ronda Pilipinas. The stage was 209 km long and it started in Daet City and ended in Lucena City. It was indeed a very tough stage as 8 riders failed to reach the allowable time limit and one rider even failed to finish the race. Among the 9 cyclists who are out of the running, are Y101FM/Cebu’s Robert Villaber, Jaybop Pagnanawon, and Marvin Tapic. With 3 of its 5 remaining riders out, Cebu now has only 2 riders left for this year’s Ronda Pilipinas.
Without the minimum 3 riders, Cebu is automatically relegated to last place in the team classification. The two remaining cyclists are youngster Elmer Navarro and SEA Games medallist Nino Surban. The silver lining for team Cebu in Stage 8 was the 3rd place finish of Surban in the toughest stage so far in the tour. Surban was able to beat the likes of Merculio Ramos, top sprinter Cris Joven, and 12 others for a place in the podium. Surban finished 1:36 behind stage winner Sherwin Diamsay of One Tarlac and just 10 seconds behind King of the Mountain leader Irish Valenzuela.
Surban won the bronze medal in last year’s Southeast Asian Games in cycling’s cross-country event. He has shown that he can compete with the best in the country especially in climbing. Currently, he is in 40th place in the over-all classification while Elmer Navarro is 59th among the 77 competing riders left. Both will probably have a hard time in the next few stages as they are only two in the team. Team Cebu will most definitely try to team up with other teams and act as spoilers or surprises in the coming stages.
- 2012 Ronda Pilipinas Stage 6: Y101FM/Cebu 3rd best team for the day; Surban places 5th (cebulive.wordpress.com)
- Ronda Pilipinas 2012 Stage 7 Recap (caloysports.wordpress.com)
- 3 Cebuanos are included in LBC’s “Road to France” program (cebulive.wordpress.com)
- SEA Games: Surban captures Bronze medal