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1998 Tour ng Pilipinas
April 23
Day 9 Stage7 195kms
Cabanatuan City-San Jose
Querimit, Guieb move up
By Frederick M. Nasiad, 
The Manila times Contributing Editor 

SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija--Northern Luzon skipper Carlo Guieb showed he is still the king of the Dalton Pass but Arnel Querimit of the Philippine team proved he was the better sprinter down the stretch.

The 22-year-old Querimit yesterday frustrated hometown favorite Guieb's bid of winning one for the fans by grabbing the 199.8-km Cabanatuan City to San Jose City via Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya seventh stage of the 1998 Marlboro Centennial Tour ng Pilipinas, here.

Outdistancing the 31-year-old Guieb by half a bicycle, Querimit moved to within 56 seconds behind teammate Warren Davadilla, the overall leader.

Guieb, a native of Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, took advantage of the steep winding roads up Dalton Pass to pull away from a dozen-strong lead group 103 kms from the start.

The 1993-94 back-to-back Tour King then went solo for 50 kms going to Aritao but Querimit, who also ruled the first lap, caught up with Guieb during the descent going back to San Jose City.

Going into the final eight kms, Querimit and Guieb engaged in a sprinting battle even as team captains Tang Xuezhong of China, Wong Kam Po of Hong Kong and Victor Espiritu of the Philippine team went into full throttle some two and a half minutes behind.

When the smoke of the battle cleared, it was Querimit who was declared winner silencing the crowd who lined up to see their cycling hero.

"Ginawa ko na ang lahat ng makakaya ko," said Guieb, who has taken four minutes and 38 seconds from Davadilla's overall lead. "Sayang, pero meron pa naman tayong natitira para bukas (today's 148.5-km. Cabanatuan to Olongapo stage). Pag nakasilip siguro ako, aatake uli."

"Binuhos ko ang lahat sa ahon pero talagang malakas (si Guieb)," said Querimit, who took two of yesterday's three sprint intermediate sprint races. "Sa rematehan medyo laspag na rin siguro (si Guieb)."

As expected, Espiritu, Wong and Tang watched each other's backs, squelching any attempt at a getaway.

"Right from the start, iyon na talaga ang plano," said coach Bart Flores of the RP team which opened a 22 minutes and 25 seconds lead over second running Pangasinan. "Didikitan talaga ni Victor si Wong, pwera na lang kung makakita ng tsansang maka-break away."

For the third straight day, yellow jersey man Davadilla looked tired. After taking the lap honors in stage four, the 23-year-old rider from Malabon has placed 13th, 40th and 25th in the last three laps, respectively but he has held on to the yellow shirt for the sixth straight day today.

"Parang wala ako sa kundisyon," said Davadilla. "Katulong ko lang kanina (sa akyatan) si Victor. Kaya nahirapan ako nung kumalas siya."

"Kung maagaw man sa akin ito (yellow jersey) sa akin ni Arnel okey lang. Kakampi ko naman siya, eh," added the 5'21/2" RP team domestic. "Ang mahalaga umangat yung team."

Today's route will take the peloton to the highways of Tarlac and Pampanga and Mt. Cuadrado going to Olongapo City.
Click here for complete Stage 7 results. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
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