Tour Pilipinas Stage 6: MAYHEM!!**How can you go wrong? Tour turns topsy-turvy

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Tour turns topsy-turvy By Abac Cordero The Philippine Star 05/02/2003

MARIKINA CITY - How can you go wrong?

This was just one of the questions that nagged the top officials of the 2003 Tour Pilipinas
yesterday after the sixth stage, supposed to be a long roller-coaster ride from Tagaytay City, ended
up in so much chaos and confusion after a big group of riders got lost along the way.

What was drawn up as a revised route covering the 202 km stage turned out to be a maze when close to
30 riders were led to a wrong direction 55 kms into the race, and along the Calamba, Laguna,
junction where a massive Labor Day rally was being held.

"Sobra traffic and we didn't know there was a rally. Kaya `yung mga marshals, natabunan ng mga
rallyists at hindi na napansin ng mga siklista. Nagkanya-kanya na. May kumanan, may dumeretso," said
race director Art Cayabyab during a hastily-called press conference.

"Kakanan dapat sila lahat. Pero masyado nang magulo. Dinumog na sila ng mga tao. Uncontrollable na.
So, nag-radio kami for the marshals to regroup all the riders. Then we orders a restart of few
kilometers later," added the race director.

Tour officials, including race manager Paquito Rivas, huddled by the roadside. It took almost an
hour before the race was resumed.

The cyclists were represented by two-time champion Renato Dolosa. It was during this huddle that
they decided to order a restart and turn the stage into a mere race for the top five lap honors.

"Iniba namin ang route kagabi dahil iniiwasan namin ang traffic sa Los Baños. Hindi naman namin
na-anticipate ang rally sa Calamba. Pero hindi na mauulit ito," Rivas vowed.

As a result, the overall standings after the fifth stage stays, with Merculio Ramos still on top
with an aggregate time of 18 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds, followed closely by Placido Valdez
(99 seconds behind), Warren Davadilla (3:31), Arnel Quirimit (4:17) and Bernard Luzon (6:13).

Along the Mabitac climb, Quirimit, along with six others, staged a breakaway and went on to finish
the race in one group. Quirimit crossed the finish line first, making him the first three-lap winner
this year. He was followed by Paolo Manapol, Reinhard Gorantes, Carlo Primera and Valdez.

Upon crossing the finish, however, the top five cyclists crashed into each other due to the short
distance between the finish line and a steel railing leading to a curve.

Race officials did not furnish mediamen with the official time of the winning group, saying it
was irrelevant since it didn't have any effect on the overall standings. But for the record,
they crossed the finish line shortly before 3 p.m., more than six hours after being flagged off
in Tagaytay.

Davadilla, the winner of the two other laps contested so far, was so disappointed after the race,
saying he was having a good race and that he could have snatched the overall lead from Ramos if not
for the major foul-up.

"Kuha ko na dapat ang overall kung hindi dahil sa insidente," said Davadilla.

Then, he lambasted Quirimit, his fellow RP team member, and the rest of the breakaway riders for
breaking a gentleman's agreement they had after the restart.

"Mga labing-dalawa kami noon nagusap-usap na wala nang kakalas dahil lap honors na lang ang laban.
Pero kumawala pa din sila. Para silang hindi mga tao kausap," said Davadilla.

Quirimit didn't show up for the post-race interview and was holed out inside a burger restaurant for
fear of reprisal from those he had left behind during the race.

"Inaabangan nila ako. Si (Gerard) Amar nga eh, parang hinahamon ako," said Quirimit, repeating the
closed fist gesture that the Patrol 117 rider made to him after the race.

He added: "Si Amar masyado mainit ang ulo. Si Warren naman, kilala ko yan, gusto niya siya
ang sikat."

Wrong turn scraps Tour Pilipinas 6th lap May 01, 2003 By June Navarro Philippine Daily Inquirer MARIKINA CITY -- The Tour Pilipinas 2003 bikathon lost its way Thursday, forcing
organizers to cancel the sixth lap and replace it with a no-bearing run ruled by Arnel Quirimit to
the consternation of his breakaway partners.

No one among the grizzled officials and veterans of this bikathon could recall an instance when a
lap was abandoned although there were incidents in the past where riders took the wrong route to
the finish.

Officials said giant streamers put up by a labor group staging a rally to mark Labor Day Thursday
completely concealed the Tour directional signs in Calamba, Laguna, forcing the lead pack of about
30 riders to take the wrong turn 55 kilometers into the 202-km lap from Tagaytay City.

Race manager Paquito Rivas stopped the race when the error was discovered and, after a 45-minute
meeting with the cyclists led by Renato Dolosa, decided to keep the individual and team standings of
the fifth lap and resumed the run with only the cash prizes for the lap at stake.

"We disregarded the time and retained the standings to be fair to everybody. It was a collegial
decision and everybody agreed to it,'' said chief commissaire Renato Del Mundo in Tagalog.

Action was fast and furious when the race resumed and when the lead pack dwindled down to 12, the
favorites in the group forged an agreement to allow the seventh-running cyclist in the last few
kilometers to take the lap.

"We made an agreement that only the seventh man in the pack has the right to get the lap and the
rest should cross the finish line at the same time,'' said Warren Davadilla, third overall behind
leader Merculio Ramos and Placido Valdez, in Tagalog.

But Quirimit, running fourth overall, broke the agreement as he sprinted to the finish to capture a
third lap win worth another 10,000 pesos.

Paolo Manapol finished second to win 5,000 pesos while Reinhard Gorrantes bagged 3,000 pesos as
third placer as the two followed Quirimit home while towing Albert Primero and Valdez.

Out of frustration, Patrol 117's Gerry Amar challenged Quirimit to a fight, but Arnel, who won the
first and fifth laps, didn't accommodate him by making himself unavailable for the post-race

The bewildered riders who got lost took the route to Cabuyao instead of turning right before the
Calamba junction on the way to Sto. Tomas, Batangas. Aiding the confusion was the commotion caused
by the sea of protesters who had converged at the junction.

Race director Art Cayabyab said revising the route through Sto. Tomas going to Calauan, Laguna was
decided to avoid the heavy traffic in Los Banos and Cabuyao.

"As early as Wednesday afternoon, the teams were already advised that the race will veer away from
the usual route. Unfortunately, the protesters and the heavy traffic in the area made the riders
miss the markers,'' said Cayabyab.

The 83 riders proceed to Olongapo City on a 201.6-km lap via the MacArthur highway Friday.

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