LLOYD Reynante kept the RP-Pagcor Casino Filipino Trade Team in the thick of the fight of the Dji Sam Soe Tour of Indonesia cycling classic by finishing third in Stage 4 from Semarang to Yogyakarta Thursday.
The son of the legendary Marlboro Tour champion Maui Reynante broke away at the halfway mark before yielding to Iranian Ghader Mizbani and Taiwanese Lai Kuan Hua, who made it a 1-2 finish for the Giant Asia Racing Team.
Reynante, the 2004 Tour Pili-pinas runner-up, covered the 147.7-km uphill-downhill grind in 4 hours, 54 minutes and 10 seconds to duplicate his third-place finish in the second lap Tuesday.
Despite favoring an injured right leg, Mizbani, who was King of the Mountain in the recent Tour of Qinghai Lakes, asserted his billing as one of Asia’s best climbers to top the lap in 4:49:51.
Teammate Lai beat the Filipino rider in a dead heat to take runner-up lap honors.
Displaying splendid teamwork and coordination, the other Filipino riders also finished strongly with Joel Calderon, Albert Primero and Rhyan Tanguilig checking in sixth, 14th and 15th, respectively.
Because of that, team leader Louie Carlos said the RP-Pagcor riders, backed by Pagcor Casino Filipino, TCL Television, Rudy Project, TnT Express Worldwide, Yehey.com, UCPB Gen, New Balance apparel and Pinarello bicycles remained in fourth overall in the nine-stage, 1,503-km competition with a 50:32.49 aggregate.
“We are just a minute behind the Hong Kong national team, bannered by Tour of Hokkaido champion Wong Kam Po, which is in third place,” Carlos said of the Hong Kong squad’s total output of 50:31.50.
Greenfields Fresh Milk of the Netherlands (50:12.30) still paced the 17-team field and Poligon Sweet nice (50:27.22) was running second.
Reynante moved up seven places in the individual overall standings from 26th to 19th with an aggregate time of 17:01.27 while Tanguilig, the reigning 2004 Tour Pilipinas king, also crept back into the top 10 overall and is now running 10th (16:57.08) among the 80 entries left in the bikefest.
Calderon was in 14th spot (16:59.08), Primero in the next rung (16:59.46) and Bernard Luzon, who won the third stage Wednesday, in 41st (17:35.3).
The riders were scheduled to take a rest day on Friday before tackling what might be the pivotal fifth stage Saturday, a flat 174.5-km route from Yogyakarta to Madium.
“This stage is similar to the won that Bernard won last Wednesday, so we are very optimistic about our chances,” said Carlos, who ordered his charges to take a well-deserved rest and get lots of sleep after Thursday’s tiring fourth lap.