Domingo wins stage 7
Davadilla keeps lead
By Chito de la Vega Philippine Daily Inquirer
Stage winners: 1. Querimit, A. (RP); 2. Hamad, MM (Mal); 3. Espiritu, V. (RP); 4. Davadilla, W. (RP); 5. Espiritu, V. (RP); 6. Luzon, B. (NE); 7. Querimit, A. (RP); 8. Domingo, E. (RP).
OLONGAPO CITY (via PLDT)—Enrique Domingo and Placido Valdez instigated a two-man breakaway which ran virtually unopposed as most of the top ten riders arrived in one bunch at the end of the eighth stage yesterday of the Marlboro Centennial Tour.
Warren Davadilla maintained his lead of 53 seconds over RP teammate Arnel Quirimit at the end of the race.
Domingo, a mainstay of the Philippine team, and Nueva Ecija skipper Valdez started their attack after only 25 kms into the race at the Nueva Ecija-Tarlac provincial boundary.
When no one, not even seven-day overall leader Davadilla, gave chase, it was already a foregone conclusion that the fight for stage honors was limited to the two.
''Nagpalitan kami nuong umpisa. Sa last 200 meters nag-rematehan na kami," said Domingo, a Tour campaigner since 1988 from San Carlos City in Pangasinan, who crossed the finish line one second ahead of Valdez. (We alternated in pacing. Then we went for it in the last 200 meters.)
The 28-year-old Domingo took three hours, 29 minutes and 33 seconds to travel the 148.50 km route from Cabanatuan City to this city known as one of the hubs of the country's economic development.
''Ay naku P20,000 na tumataginting na naman,'' said the high cheek-boned Valdez, who also landed second in the third stage to Batangas City ruled by former champion Victor Espiritu. (I won P20,000 again.)
Davadilla arrived inside a 21-man wave of riders which included almost all the top ten cyclists except for Valdez.
The auto mechanic from Malabon was a picture of contentment as the top ten in the overall standings remained intact.
Only a day before, he was agitated by the numerous assaults he had to parry just to keep the yellow jersey.
He admitted he only got to talk with teammate Arnel Quirimit, the man who almost toppled him from the overall lead in the seventh stage, just after yesterday's race.
''Kanina lang kami nag-usap pagkatapos ng karera. Binulungan ko siya, sabi ko akin muna itong araw na ito dahil alam ko malakas ka naman mag-inidividual. Baka maaari pagtapos ng rest day siguro kinabukasan sa iyo na,'' said Davadilla, referring to Sunday's two-stage ninth stage. (I have talked to him (Quirimit) and we have patched up our differences.)
''Sa individual time trial magkakaalaman dahil malakas po sa akin si Arnel. Pagnakondisyon lalo si Arnel. Pero kung parehas lang, kahit paano nakakapantay,'' admitted Davadilla. (Arnel is that strong really.)
Quirimit confirmed Davadilla's proposition.
''Gusto nga niya ako na maghawak ng yellow jersey, Eh ayaw ko rin hawakan. Talagang mahirap maghawak ng yellow jersey. Sabi niya ikaw na ang maghawak kasi pagod na pagod na ako,'' said Quirimit, a four-year Tour veteran from Pozzorubio, Pangasinan. (Davadilla wants me to wear the yellow jersey but I refused. He said he is too tired to wear the jersey.)
Quirimit admitted he was just biding his time before going for the kill. ''Pangarap ko rin maging isang champion. Kung sakali ngayon,'' said Quirimit. (It is my dream also to become a champion. God willing, it will be this year.)
Perhaps the sober opinion on the rivalry between Davadilla and Quirimit came from their team skipper Victor Espiritu.
''Sa aking kung sino sa kanila (Davadilla and Quirimit) ang mananalo siguro sa time trial sa Baguio yung ang magcha-champion sa kanila. Kung sino ang overall pagkatapos ng time trial sa Baguio. Yun ang champion sa kanila,'' said Espiritu. (The better rider in the time trials will win it.)
Whoever gets to wear the yellow jersey, Espiritu vowed, will get the wholehearted support of the Philippine team.
The 69 survivors
rest their aching bones today as the Tour takes its second furlough. The
whole entourage is billeted inside the Subic Freeport Zone