Tour de France veteran Francisco Mancebo Perez of Spain turned back time and topped the 197.6-kilometer Stage One of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2019 that started at the Iloilo City Hall and ended at the Megaworld Festive Walk Mall.
The 42-year-old Perez, representing Matrix Powertag Japan, topped the stage in five hours and 7.02 minutes.
Perez's best finish in the Tour de France was fourth overall in 2005 and was a second placer in Vuelta a Espana the year before.
Defending champion Ronald Oranza of Navy-Standard Insurance finished second and 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Philippines third, or 3 minutes and 52 seconds behind the Spanish veteran.
“For the moment, I’m happy with the victory. For us, its good and we’ll see what happens in the race,” said Perez.
Jan Paul Morales, who won the annual race in 2016 and 2017, checked in at solo fourth (4:32 behind) while Junya Sano, Mancebo’s Matrix teammate, came in at No. 5 (4:40) and Joo Daeyeong of Team Korail Korea at No. 6 (4:51).
In the top 10 were Filipinos Irish Valenzuela of 7-Eleven (5:07), Mark Julius Bordeos of Phl Army-Bicycology (5:07), Rustom Lim of 7Eleven (5:18) and Ismael Grospe of Go for Gold (6:30).
Reigning Le Tour champion El Joshua Carino of Navy-Standard Insurance was in the peloton and wound up 17th overall or 6:43 behind.
The race will resume Saturday with 101.8km Stage Two in Guimaras.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.