Richard Nebres of Team Ace Sports Group (ASG) ruled the Stage 1 and 2 of the Tour of Tarlac (TOT) on Saturday in Tarlac City, Tarlac.
The 21-year old cyclist from Davao City crossed the Stage 2 finish line at the Tarlac Recreational Park (TRP) with a time record of one hour, 28 minutes and 31.18 seconds.
Finishing second and third, respectively were Ryan Bravo (1:30:40.29) of 7-Eleven and Jerard Estilo (1:31:57.42), another ASG bet.
Nebres bolted away from the peloton along with Bravo as the race entered its final 40 kilometers.
“I was with Bravo during the last 30km and we swap places along the way. I tested him to move up against me but he did not follow that’s why I left him during the final kilometers,” Nebres told The Manila Times.
Nebres described the route as a mix of winding roads, up and down hills and sharp turn points that tested their mettle under the scorching summer heat.
“The head wind is very strong which made the race more difficult,” said the 21-year old Bravo, a fresh Criminology graduate from Pangasinan.
Because of traffic congestion in the city proper, the organizers decided to shorten the supposed 75km road race to 63km and relocated the finish line to TRP.
Nebres also won the 23km Individual Time Trial Stage 1 race with a time record of 34 minutes and 26.48 seconds. The victory allowed him to grab the early lead in the general classification category.
Ranolfo Martin, Nebres’ teammate, finished second, 44.17 seconds short of Nebres’ record. Bravo finished third one minute and eight seconds behind the leader.
The Tarlac race is a prelude to the upcoming Tour of Tayabas in May and the inaugural Tour of Rizal in September.
The TOT aims to drum up interest for the sport as well as showcase the beauty of Tarlac.
The 25-kilometer Team Time Trial race will unfold today along with a fun ride dubbed Padjak ni Juan. The latter aims to raise fund for the out-of-school youth of Tarlac.
The fun ride will start in front of SM City Tarlac, the title sponsor of the event.
The TOT is backed by the Manila North Tollways Corporation, Tarlac Governor Victor Yap and Representative Susan Yap. JEAN RUSSEL V. DAVID