Tour Pilipinas Stage 5: Quirimit first to Tagaytay

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Z Bernard

Quirimit books second stage win By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 05/01/2003

TAGAYTAY CITY - Stripped of the yellow jersey just the other day, Arnel Quirimit came back strong
yesterday and booked his second stage win only five hot and humid days gone in the 2003 Tour

Quirimit raised his arms then blew a big kiss into the cheering crowd as he crossed the finish line
fronting the Hall of Justice here, exactly four hours, 13 minutes and 19 seconds after the 83 riders
were flagged off in Lucena City.

His victory in the 175 km fifth stage, which offered a gradual 40 km trek from Nasugbu, Batangas,
and a panoramic view of Taal Volcano, was his second in the 15-stage, 18-day event presented by Air
21. He also won the Legazpi-Sorsogon-Legazpi opening stage and enjoyed a brief reign as overall
leader before the younger Merculio Ramos took over the other day.

Warren Davadilla, the 1998 Marlboro Tour king, won the two other individual stages so far this year
- the third and fourth. The second stage was a team time trial event in and out of Legazpi City won
by Quirimit's spirited Tanduay team.

"Sinuwerte lang ulit. Naramdaman ko sa last five (kms) na may lakas pa ako kaya inilayo ko. Trabaho
talaga," Quirimit, smiling, said during the post-race interview.

The 27-year-old Armyman had reason to smile since he climbed to fourth from sixth overall, moving
just four minutes and 17 ticks behind Ramos from 5:13 the other day.

Ramos, who strikes a good resemblance with 1996 champion and out-of- this-race Victor Espiritu, also
raised his arms and flashed a wide grin crossing the finish, well aware that he had kept the overall
lead with an aggregate time of 18 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds.

A native of Tarlac who idolizes fellow cyclist Loreto Mandi and cager Alvin Patrimonio, Ramos
remained 99 seconds ahead of second-running veteran Placido Valdez and Davadilla, in third and more
than three minutes away.

"Aalagaan ko na lang," said the 24-year-old Ramos, who, barring any serious trouble along the way,
is bound to improve on his 16th place finish in the 1998 Tour.

Ramos towed a colorful 25-man lead pack with only 50 kms left in the race but seemed to have lost
steam climbing to the finish.

"Sinubukan ko pa din kumawala sa ahon pero hindi ako makawala. Madami sila sa likod ko at
nagpapalitan sila ng trangko. Kaya na-groge ako at hindi nakahabol nang kumalas sila
Arnel," he said.

The fifth stage was not an earth-shaker as far as the overall standings was concerned.

Bernard Luzon, from eighth, is now in fifth; Lloyd Reynante, from fourth to sixth; Enrique Domingo
from ninth to seventh; Rhyan Tanguilig from fifth to eighth; Eusebio Quinones from seventh to ninth;
and unknown Fernando Alagano untouchable in 10th place.

Frederick Feliciano, Lito Atilano and Ericson Obosa came in 34 ticks behind Quirimit and were all
happy moving up to 13th, 18th and 19th, respectively.

Outside of the top 10 though, it was two-time champion Renato Dolosa who continued to make noise,
steadily climbing from 28th to 13th and now to 12th, less than 11 minutes off the pace.

"Nakaka-tsamba lang at nanonood muna. Mahaba pa kasi," said the 1992 and 1995 champion from Gubat,
Sorsogon, armed with a brand new bike worth P180,000.

Like the 207 km fourth, the 202 km sixth stage from here to Marikina is going to be one hell of a
ride featuring three difficult climbs along Mabitac, Antipolo and entering Marikina.


Quirimit first to Tagaytay By Bobby Rondez

TAGAYTAY CITY-Arnel Quirimit bounced back mightily from a terrible Tuesday to capture his second lap
victory in the Air 21 Tour Pilipinas, ruling the 175.4-km fifth stage from Lucena City to this
vacation haven south of Manila, but failing to take the yellow jersey back from fellow national
cyclist Merculio Ramos.

Quirimit tumbled to sixth after a flat tire in Stage 4 cost him precious time, but climbed up to
fourth overall behind Ramos and former Tour winners Placido Valdez and Warren Davadilla, completing
the 650-meter ascent to Cavite's version of Baguio in four hours, 13 minutes and 19 seconds.

The Tanduay Rhum Riders team captain so dominated Wednesday's race after breaking away in the last
10 kilometers that he finished over 34 seconds ahead of second-placed teammate Ericson Obosa, while
Ramos, Valdez, Davadilla and 11 other riders came in a group 46 ticks behind Quirimit.

"I said I would rest after yesterday's race [the fourth lap from Daet to Lucena], but I felt that I
was still strong enough to lead today. Then I got lucky and saw an opening, so I took advantage,"
said the 24-year-old from Pozzorubio, Pangasinan, who cut his deficit against Samsung skipper Ramos
by nearly a minute to just four minutes and 17 seconds.

However, the sturdy, consistent overall leader and RP Team cyclist will try to hang on to the
yellow jersey for a third straight day when the 12-team, 83-man field takes a circular path
north-up and over three hills-in Thursday's 202.6-km sixth lap from here to the country's shoe
capital, Marikina City.

Like Ramos, the Intel squad, bannered by back-to-back lap winner Davadilla, retained its lead in the
overall team standings with an aggregate time of 74 hours, 23 minutes and 17.96 seconds. But the
computer firm-backed riders saw a new rival in Tanduay, which climbed up to second place just four
minutes and 14.5 seconds adrift of the lead.

For five days now, the nationals have dominated the Tour although some have shared top billing
especially in the stages where the climb has bordered from difficult to harsh.

Quirimit put on a show practically the same display of prowess he flashed in two of the five laps
thus far-he convincingly won the first stage to and from Legazpi City then led his team to the time
trial triumph the next lap-in the Tour that winds up in 11 days.

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