Tour Pilipinas Stage 11: Domingo seizes lead;Quirimit slips to 2nd

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  1. Z Bernard

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    TOUR PILIPINAS 2003 Domingo seizes lead;Quirimit slips to 2nd Posted: 11:51 PM (Manila Time) | May
    07, 2003 By June Navarro Philippine Daily Inquirer

    SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union -- Postmen skipper Enrique Domingo snatched the yellow jersey of
    leadership from an easy-going Arnel Quirimit Wednesday even as unknown Frederick Feliciano topped
    the 11th stage of the Tour Pilipinas bikathon.

    As the big guns conserved their strength in preparation for the next two back-breaking laps ending
    in Baguio, Domingo emerged new overall leader by coming home with the 14-man second group that
    checked in just three seconds behind Feliciano.

    Tanduay Rhum Riders' skipper Quirimit, who paced the 17-member sixth group that finished 3:45 behind
    the lap winner, dropped to second overall, two minutes and nine seconds behind Domingo, the
    seventh-lap winner who admitted not entertaining thoughts of going all the way.

    Known for his sprinting prowess than his mountain-climbing skills, Domingo said what's important for
    him is to retain the Sprint title.

    "I'm not worried because what happened today (Wednesday) will have no effect at all in the next two
    stages," said Quirimit in Tagalog.

    The decisive Baguio laps start Thursday with a 160.6-km grind that will first take the riders to the
    country's summer capital via Naguilian Road then down to Agoo town, La Union province through Marcos
    Highway before going up to Baguio again via Kennon Road.

    Although this stage will be followed by the 36-km individual time trial on Friday through Kennon
    from Rosario town, La Union, Thursday's lap is expected to decide the overall title as it repeatedly
    did in the past.

    Feliciano uncorked a blazing run in the last few meters to finish the
    214.2-km drive from Laoag City in five hours, two minutes and 15 seconds.

    Bernard Luzon nipped Paterno Curtan for second place as they towed the second group that also
    included two-time champion Renato Dolosa, Lloyd Reynante of Pagcor Sports and 1998 winner Warren
    Davadilla of Intel.

    Samsung's Merculio Ramos, the overall leader for six days, slipped to third overall, Pagcor Sports
    team captain Rhyan Tanguilig fell from third to fourth while Davadilla stayed in fifth, four minutes
    and 10 seconds off Domingo.

    Santy Barnachea of Bowling Gold and Patrol 117 skipper Luzon remained sixth and seventh followed by
    Reynante, Dolosa and Alfie Catalan.

    Placido Valdez of Drug Busters crashed out of the top 10 and slid to 20th overall after finishing
    69th for the day. Joseph Millanes dropped from eighth to 11th.

    In 1996, Domingo also grabbed the overall lead a day before the killer Baguio route but Victor
    Espiritu overhauled his 12-minute lead in the mountains and eventually won the crown.

    Except for Bernard Llentada's victory in 1991 over Carlo Guieb, all overall leaders who topped this
    Baguio stage went on to claim the championship.

    Intel continued to pace the race for the one-million-peso team champion's purse with a time of 164
    hours, 13 minutes and 24 seconds.

    The Postmen stood 18 minutes and 59 seconds behind followed by Tanduay, which trailed Intel
    by 37:0l.46.

    Samsung held fourth followed by Eco Savers, Patrol 117, Bowling Gold, Vat Riders, Pagcor Sports,
    Gilbey's Island Punch, Drug Busters and PLDT-NDD.

    Leader Domingo downplays self in Tour 2003

    By FRANCIS OCHOA TODAY Reporter News

    SAN FERNANDO, La Union - The faint scent of sea breeze nipped through the sun-cooked wind that
    swirled around the city plaza at mid-afternoon. Somewhere past the bright orange steel bars that
    lined both sides of the finish area, the Tanduay tent had sucked in a bulk of the leftover crowd
    that had cheered on passing cyclists earlier.

    Armed with a megaphone, a thirty-something guy with a paunch he tried to tuck away from the sight of
    the Tanduay models announced that there would be a free picture-taking and autograph session early
    evening with the heavily sweating cyclist who was in the middle of this carnival-like atmosphere.

    All of it outlined how ironic life can be at times.

    Just moments after Enrique Domingo stripped him of the yellow jersey Wednesday, Arnel Quirimit was
    the king of everybody who mattered.

    "Siya talaga ang malakas ngayon," said the 32-year-old Domingo, whose sprinting prowess allowed him
    to cross the 214.2-km Laoag-to-San Fernando 11th stage in five hours, two minutes and 15 seconds,
    together with a swollen pack of cyclists that came in three seconds behind the stage's winner,
    Frederick Feliciano.

    Domingo's finish gave him the overall lead, but he said everything will now be thrown out the window
    as the cyclists prepare for the killer Laoag-to-Baguio stage Thursday, where the eventual champion
    of the Tour Pilipinas 2003 could emerge.

    "Diyan na manggagaling ang champion," said Domingo. "Kung sino ang umangat diyan, malamang, hindi na

    Domingo knows what he's talking about. In 1996, he held the yellow jersey for seven days and then
    lost it to the wiry Victor Espiritu after the Baguio stage. He eventually wound up fourth place, his
    best finish in this summer cycling spectacle.

    Gerardo Igos, the 1989 champion and current coach of Samsung, also knows how decisive the Baguio
    stage and the Rosario-to-Baguio individual time trial Friday is in deciding the overall winner. When
    he won his only Tour crown, he was running seventh before ascending the 1,500-meter curling road up
    the pine-scented city to leave everybody else chasing him.

    "Diyan talaga mayayari ang karera," Igos said.

    Domingo, the Postmen skipper known for his sprinting than for his climbing skills, holds the overall
    individual lead with an aggregate time of
    214:1:04, two minutes and nine seconds ahead of Quirimit, but it is the shadow of the 27-year-old
    Pangasinense that looms over the field.

    "Malakas talaga si Arnel. Siya at si Warren ang talagang titira sa ahon," said Merculio Ramos, one
    of only three riders to have held the yellow jersey in the race sponsored by Lipovitan, Accel,
    FedEx, Mail and More, bpi-ms, San Mig Light and Look-Vittoria-Selle Italia.

    Ramos is 2:53 off the overall lead with an aggregate time of 40:45:57.

    And Quirimit is taking everything with the same cocksure attitude by which he has dealt with
    everything about the Tour.

    He even simply smiled off the fact that he had lost the yellow jersey a day after regaining it
    from Ramos.

    "Wala 'yun. OK lang kasi mahaba pa ang karera. Sa Baguio na talaga magkakaalaman lahat," said the
    national team mainstay. "'Yun ang deciding lap. Kung sino'ng mananalo sa Baguio sa top 10, siya

    And he had no qualms about being the target of everybody else.

    "Siyempre ganun talaga. OK lang sa akin 'yun. Kung sino kasi ang malakas, siya yung kakapitan," said
    the Tanduay captain.

    He was gracious enough, though, to admit that everybody who goes after him are worthy challengers.

    "Si Ramos at si Davadilla, malakas 'yan. Si Domingo, lalaban din iyan."

    Apart from Quirimit, very few people have given Domingo the chance to hold on to the yellow jersey
    after Thursday's and Friday's stages. Never mind that the veteran internationalist has actually
    compiled 12 points in the King of the Mountain race and is fourth in that category.

    Not that Domingo minds.

    "Ang habol ko talaga 'yung Sprint King kasi gusto ko iregalo sa sarili ko ' yung relo na kasama sa
    prize du'n," said Domingo, referring to the P40,000 watch event sponsor Longines is offering to the
    winner of the sprint king. Domingo has 36 sprint points, 17 more than second-running Bernard Luzon,
    whom he tailed in Wednesday's stage.

    "Sabi ko sa kanya sa umpisa pa lang, anino mo na ako. Kahit anong mangyari, 'di kita pakakawalan
    kasi ikaw ang kalaban ko sa sprint. Sayang din 'yung relo na 'yun. 'Di baling maalis ako sa top 10,
    basta makuha ko yung relo," said Domingo, winner of the last two sprint titles in the old Tour.

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