George Oconer of Go for Gold guns for his very first Ronda Pilipinas title when the 2018 edition presented by LBC unfurls in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on March 3.
Back after missing last year’s race to focus on the national team’s Southeast Asian Games preparation, the 26-year-old Oconer will be one of the favorites to win it all the country’s biggest cycling race staking P1 million.
“I’m happy to be competing again in Ronda and I’m focused on winning it this year,” said Oconer, whose best came in 2015 when he wound up second to eventual champion Santy Barnachea, in Filipino.
Oconer is seeking to join an elite company composed of former winners Morales (2015, 2016), Barnachea of Team Franzia (2011, 2015), Irish Valenzuela of CCN Superteam (2012), Mark Galedo (2013) and Reimon Lapaza (2014).
Oconer, whose father is two-time Olympian Norberto, said he will bring in a fearsome team capable of challenging a heavily favored Navy Standard Insurance in this race presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, CCN, Petron, Versa.ph, 3Q Sports Event Management, Inc., Boy Kanin, Franzia, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, SH+, Guerciotti, Prolite, Green Planet, Maynilad, NLEX Cycling, Lightwater, LBC Foundation and PhilCycling.
Boots Ryan Cayubit, John Renee Mier, Jerry Aquino, Jr, Elmer Navarro, Orlie Villanueva, Arjay Arbastro and daredevil Jonel Carcueva.
Carcueva, a 22-year-old native of Minganilla, Cebu who debuted by finishing 12th overall in last year’s race, showed flashes of brilliance by finishing second to Navy’s Junrey Navarra in the second of two-leg qualifying race in Mandaue City, Cebu late last year.
“He’s talented, strong and fearless, he will be a big part of our campaign,” said Oconer of Carcueva.