Tour Pilipinas Stage Rest: Takes advantage of one-day break to rest weary body

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

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  1. Z Bernard

    Z Bernard Guest

    Ramos not taking it easy Takes advantage of one-day break to rest weary body By NOLI CORTEZ Malaya

    OLONGAPO. - Merculio Ramos is hoping the lone rest day in the Air 21 Tour Pilipinas 2003 Saturday
    would be enough to reinvigorate his tired and bruised body.

    "Sana makabawi ng lakas," Ramos said as he spent Saturday cavorting with his Samsung teammates and
    supporters in a beach resort in Subic.

    After Saturday's break, the riders proceed north for the killer laps, two of them in Baguio City.

    Ramos has held the yellow jersey for the last three days, managing to hold off the determined attack
    of the favorites led by Arnel Quirimit. He knows, however, that anything can still happen.

    So do the rest of the 83 surviving cyclists who are also bracing themselves for what could be the
    most critical stages of the Tour that start Sunday with the eighth lap from here to Dagupan.

    At 247.6 kms, the 8th stage is this year's longest and will take the riders through the coastal
    towns of Zambales and Pangasinan lying next to the China Sea and historic Lingayen Gulf.

    Offering the most challenges are some relatively mild climbs, as well as gusty left-to-right
    crosswinds that could further laden the road warriors.

    For race manager Paquito Rivas, the length of the route the riders have to traverse under the
    scorching summer heat should be enough foil. "Init at inip ang kalaban mo diyan," he said.

    Rivas, however, was quick to point out the next four laps, which will take the Tour to its
    northernmost point in Laoag, will be just a prelude to the laps that traditionally decide the
    summer saga.

    "Sa Baguio laps pa rin magkakatalo iyan," said Rivas, who won the 1979 title after emerging as the
    Eagle of the Mountains in Benguet.

    The stages he was referring to are the San Fernando-to-Baguio 12th lap, where the riders will have
    to make two ascents to the Pines City, and the Rosario-to-Baguio 13th stage, a back-breaking
    individual time trial.

    Compared to Tanduay's Quirimit, Pagcor's Rhyan Tanguilig, Intel's Warren Davadilla and Drug Busters'
    Placido Valdez, Ramos could only boast of moderate climbing skills.

    That explains why he wants to at least maintain his two minutes and 41 seconds lead over Quirimit
    and Valdez going into the Baguio stages.

    "Kung makakabawi ng lakas, mas madaling dumiskarte. At pati mga teammates ko makakatulong ng malaki
    dahil nakapagpahinga rin sila," said Ramos, who is hoping the seawater could help cure the cuts and
    bruises he suffered in a spill early in the sixth lap.

    That is precisely what Ramos' closest pursuers are thinking of.

    "Malaking bagay itong pahinga dahil makaka-recover. Huwag lang mamalasin, makaka-atake ulit bukas,"
    said Quirimit, from whom Ramos grabbed the overall lead in the fourth lap.

    For his part, Valdez, 35, said: "Malaking bagay din naman ang suwerte dahil isang mechanical trouble
    lang, madali ka nang maiiwanan."

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