Tour Pilipinas Stage 1: Veteran shows 'em how in Tour opener

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Z Bernard, May 4, 2003.

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  1. Z Bernard

    Z Bernard Guest

    Veteran shows 'em how in Tour opener Apr. 27, 2003 By June Navarro Philippine Daily Inquirer

    LEGAZPI CITY, Albay -- Veteran Arnel Quirimit, riding true to form, outsprinted breakaway partner
    Merculio Ramos Saturday to capture the opening lap of the Tour Pilipinas 2003 bikathon.

    Quirimit, skipper of the Tanduay Distillers, finished four seconds ahead of Ramos as he clocked four
    hours 32 minutes and 43 seconds for the 183-km drive that marked the return of multi-stage cycling
    after a four-year hiatus.

    Known for his aggressive riding, Quirimit credited Ramos of Samsung for helping him sustain a
    breakaway move that the two pulled off some 50 km from the finish line.

    "Nagtulungan kaming dalawa kaya hindi kami masyadong nahirapan sa akyatan (We took turns setting a
    strong pace especially in the mountains)," said the 24-year-old Quirimit from the town of Pozzorubio
    in Pangasinan province.

    Eusebio Quinones of Patrol 117 salvaged third place, coming home 2:49 behind Quirimit as he pulled
    away from a four-man second group in the final kilometer.

    Placido Valdez and Benito Lopez arrived together just four seconds behind Quinones with Santi
    Barnachea, who paced the lead pack for the most part of the race, struggling home another four
    seconds behind the two.

    The rest of the big guns checked in with the 13-man seventh group that former champion Rolando
    Pagnanawon towed to the finish, 6:20 behind the lap winner.

    In this star-studded pack were tour favorites and former winners Warren Davadilla of Intel and Carlo
    Guieb of Eco Savers and promising youngsters Lloyd Reynante and Rhyan Tanguilig of Pagcor.

    Renato Dolosa of Gilbey's Island Punch, a two-time champion like Guieb, failed to keep up with his
    peers, however. He wheeled home
    8:54 behind Quirimit in the company of 10 others.

    Quinones' third place finish lifted Patrol 117 to the early lead in the team race where a whooping
    purse of one million pesos awaits the winner. Patrol had a best four-man time of 18:37:50.8.

    The VAT Riders took second with a time of 18:38.31.5 while Intel was third with 18:41:58.2.

    Quirimit and Ramos scampered away from the main pack in the uphill approach to Tabaco City from
    Ligao town in Albay province.

    "Sa unang ahon namin sila naiwanan. Pagkatapos, nagpalitan na lang kami sa unahan papunta sa finish
    line (We left them in the first climb then we alternated at the pace until the finish)," said Ramos,
    who finished 12th in the 180-km road race of the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

    Barnachea of Bowling Gold tried to defuse the breakaway but had no more to give after towing the
    pack for more than 120 km.

    "Leader ako 90 percent ng karera kaya maaga akong nalaspag. Hindi bale, maraming laps pa naman (I
    lost steam by providing pace for the pack early. Anyway there are many laps left," said Barnachea of
    Umingan town, Pangasinan.

    All 84 riders finished including Reinhard Gorantes and Joseph Servino of Patrol 117 who sustained
    bruises after a spill caused by the rain- soaked road.

    Stage 2 will be a team time trial from Daraga town, Albay to Naga City, Camarines Sur province
    covering 91.2 km.

    -- ----------------------------------------------- Veteran Quirimit rules first stage Manila Times By Bobby Rondez

    LEGAZPI CITY-Arnel Qurimit's vast experience and top-of-the-line bicycle served him in good stead on
    Saturday as he won the first stage of the Air 21 Tour Pilipinas to and from this city at the foot of
    majestic Mayon Volcano.

    The 24-year-old Army corporal displayed his maneuvering skills in the climb up Sambuyan in the town
    of Tabaco 50 kilometers from the finish, where the rest of the field-except for eventual second
    placer Merculio Ramos-vanished slowly in the scor­ching midmorning heat.

    When the 84-man field came down from the Category-2 King of the Mountain section, not even fellow
    national team member Ramos could keep up with Quirimit, who turned in a time of four hours, 32
    minutes and 53 seconds in ru­ling the 183-kilometer initial lap.

    "My training in steep climbs like the ones up Baguio and the international competitions I joined
    with the national team abroad really helped me here," said the native of Pozzorubio, Pangasinan, who
    reprised his first-leg triumph in the 1997 edition of the old Marlboro Tour.

    At the same, Quirimit, who beat Ramos by four seconds, attributed his first lap victory to a newly
    acquired P150,000 Giant brand bike he bought during the last Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.

    "I bought it [the bike] after joining the competitions abroad like the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia
    and elsewhere," he said. "This hi- tech bike really helped me manage the climbs today."

    Another member of the national team, Eusebio Quinones, finished third with a group oif 12 with a
    time of 4:35:56 after towing four men in the lead pack before the turn at Sorsogon City.

    "He [Quirimit] really is a strong climber. I couldn't stay with him because I was already cramping
    up in both legs," said the 24-year-old Ramos, who like Quirimit is also enlisted in the Army's
    Special Service Command.

    With his victory, Quirimit pocketed the initial stage cash pot of P10,000, while helping his team
    Tanduay Distillers finish eighth among 12 teams in the overall standings behind leader Patrol 117.

    Ramos and Quinones settled for the P5,000 and P3,000 lap prizes respectively.

    The riders now tackle the Tour's second stage, a 91.2-km team time trial from this capital city of
    Albay to Naga City on fairly flat plains.

    Quinones, who placed 12th in the Asia category in the last Tour de Langkawi, took charge during the
    first 50 kilometers reaching the town of Dara­ga heading towards the turn in Pilar, Sorsogon first
    along with the Drug Busters' skipper Placido Valdez, Benito Lopez of the VAT Riders and Tour of
    Calabarzon winner Santy Barnachea.

    A spill involving five riders brought by scattered showers along the 65-kilometer mark between the
    towns of Camalig and Daraga, resulted in a major shake-up among the leaders, with Quirimit emerging
    with Ramos and Lloyd Reynante in tow.

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