Cris Joven seeks to improve on his third-place last year as he rides for Army-Bicycology Shop in the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 presented by LBC unfolding on March in Vigan, Ilocos Sur and ending on March 18 in Filinvest, Alabang.
Joven, 30, wound up third overall behind eventual champion Jan Paul Morales and Navy-Standard Insurance teammate Rudy Roque despite coming in with little preparation and will be come into the 12-stage race with a lot of optimism.
“Compared to last year, I’m better prepared now so hopefully I could contend and challenge them again,” said Joven, a proud son of Iriga, Camarines Sur, in Filipino.
Joven will also be backstopped by veteran campaigners Alfie Catalan, Merculio Ramos, Jr., Marvin Tapic, Reynaldo Navarro and Alvin Benosa as they challenge the big guns like Morales and former champions Santy Barnachea of Team Franzia and Iris Valenzuela of CCN Superteam.
The other members of the Army-Bicyclogy team are Lord Anthony del Rosario and Kenneth Solis.
A cool P1 million will be at stake in this 12-stage race that will be jumpstarted by the 40-kilometer Vigan criterium Stage One on March 3 and the 155.4km Vigan-Pagudpud Stage Two the next day.
The race resumes with the 223.5km Pagudpud-Tuguegarao Stage Three on March 5, 135.2km Tuguegarao-Isabela Stage Four on March 6, 179.4km Isabela-Nueva Ecija Stage Five on March 8, 111.8km Nueva Ecija-Tarlac Stage Six on March 9, 31.5km Individual Time Trial Stage Seven and 42.14km Team Time Trial Stage Eight both in Tarlac on March 10 and 11.
Winding up the race are the 207.2km Silang-Batangas-Tagaytay Stage Nine on March 15, 147.8km Tagaytay-Calaca Stage 10 on March 16, 92.72km Calaca-Calaca Stage 11 on March 17 and the 50km Filinvest Alabang criterium Stage 12 on March 18.
Other teams competing are the Tarlac Province, Go for Gold, Go for Gold Developmental team, South Luzon, Ilocos Sur Province, Nueva Ecija and Team Bike Xtreme.