TOUR: QUIRIMIT REGAINS LEAD

Laoag City, May 7, 2003
--  Arnel Quirimit spanned a gamut of emotions
Tuesday when he wrested back the overall lead, making up for the failure of
his team, Tanduay, to win the team time trial 10th lap in the Air 21 Tour
Pilipinas 2003 here.

The Rhum Riders could only submit the third best time for the day, clocking
a combined time of seven hours, 24 minutes and 52.8 seconds for the 83-km
grind on the well-paved roads from Vigan to here behind Intel and sulking
Bowling Gold.

But the Tanduay team skipper, who won the first lap, had a big reason to
celebrate after finding out he has regained the yellow jersey he held for
two days in the event supported by Longines, Lipovitan, Selle Italia, Look
Vittoria, Philtranco, BPI-MS, FedEx and Mail and More.

"Siyempre, masaya dahil overall leader na naman. Pero mas masaya sana kung
kami rin ang nakakuha ng lap," said Quirimit, who started fourth overall
and emerged with a 43-second lead over erstwhile leader Merculio Ramos at
the end of the tumultuous lap.

Each of the 12 teams were released five minutes apart, with the 12th-ranked
team making a go at it first, followed by the 11th ranked and so forth.
Although Ramos' Samsung squad managed to catch Carlo Guieb's lower-placed
Eco Savers crew at the approach to Gilbert Bridge at this city's limits, it
wasn't enough to keep him the overall leader.

Samsung finished seventh for the day, with Ramos' individual contribution
of 1:54.38 proving short in his bid to keep his two-minute, 41-second
overnight advantage over Quirimit.

"Talagang nag-ubos kami para makapag-submit ng magandang time. Pero
hanggang du'n lang talaga," said Ramos, who has held the yellow jersey
after the fourth lap.

"Pero okey na rin siguro dahil makakapag-pahinga naman," he added.

Rhyan Tanguilig's PagcorSports Team wound up fifth, enabling him to close
in on Ramos as a result. Tanguilig now trails Ramos by only 33 seconds from
1:40 overnight.

Intel team captain Warren Davadilla said it was a drastic change in race
strategy that enabled them to check in with the day's best time of
7:19.43.6, three minutes and 24 seconds ahead than Santi Barnachea's
Bowling Gold team.

"Dati, circular ang palitan namin ng trangko. Ibinalik namin sa straight
formation kanina," said Davadilla, who towed teammates Michael Reyes, Nilo
Estayo and Paulo Manapol to the Rizal Ave. finish here.

Due to their team's finishes, Davadilla and Barnachea gained grounds in the
overall standings. Davadilla remained at fifth but was only 5:42 off the
pace from 9:41 overnight while Barnachea charged up to sixth from 11th.

Intel also reclaimed its No. 1 spot in the P1 million team race, dislodging
overnight leader DOTC Postmen, which could only check in fourth for the
day. (By NOLI CORTEZ, Malaya)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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