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Roque seizes Ronda lead

ANGELES CITY – Navy-Standard Insurance bet Rudy Roque was just in his teens when two-time Tour champion Renato Dolosa told him he has the potential to be a cycling star. Fast forward to the future and the the 25-year-old Roque is making a genius out of the 1992 and 1995 Tour king.

While no one is looking, Roque came out of nowhere, rode like a wind and blew away everybody with a pair of second place finishes up North in Ilocandia to seize the solo overall individual lead of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 that put himself into prime position to snare perhaps his biggert victory in his career.

And Roque said he has Dolosa to thank for for inspiring him to dream big.

“He told me I could be somebody someday, he was the one who opened the doors for me,” said Roque in Filipino referring to Dolosa, who travelled to the mountainous barangay of Tibo, Bataan to get the then teenager to get him to play for the latter’s American Vynil-LPGMA team in the inaugural edition of Ronda.

From there, Roque has actually blossomed and even placed an impressive ninth in the first staging of this anuual race and consistently figured in the top 20 in the next editions.

After two stages, Roque is on top with an aggregate time of five hours, three minutes and three seconds, leading Navy teammates Ronald Lomotos and Archie Cardana, who are at Nos. 2 and 3 with clockings of 5:03:23 and 5:03:31, respectively.

He is more than five minutes ahead of the big guns headed by last year’s champion and fellow Navyman Jan Paul Morales, who is at No. 17 with 5:08:11, and Kinetix Lab-Army’s Cris Joven, who is at No. 18 with 5:08:18.

Roque said the next three stages – all uphill climbs – will make or break his campaign.

The 137-km Angeles-Subic Stage Three on Wednesday and the 111-km Subic-Subic Stage Four the next day will both go around the mountains where the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is located.

The Lucena-Pili Stage Five on Sunday is the longest stage this year, stretching 251 kms that included a pass at the Tatlong Eme in Atimonan, Quezon.