LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The Cariño brothers proved on Tuesday that blood is thicker than water as Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance's El Joshua and 7-Eleven Cliqq RoadBike Philippines' Daniel Ven made a historic 1-2 finish in the punishing Stage 3 of the 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas.
The Cariño brothers thrived under sweltering conditions as they made a decisive breakaway in the town of Sta. Barbara, some 30 kilometers from the finish, before they engaged themselves in a mad dash to the finish in front of their fellow Pangasinenses near the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol.
However, it was El Joshua who crossed the finish line first after the taxing 185.20-km trek that started in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, and ran through the crowded roads of the country's cycling hotbed in four hours, 28 minutes and 56 seconds for his breakthrough lap win in the annual road race co-presented Air21, Cignal and Cargohaus Inc.
The impressive performance by the Cariños also caused big changes in the general classifications, with El Joshua, 25, jumping from ninth spot to the top of the general classification with an aggregate time of 8:17:23 that enabled him to wrest the coveted yellow jersey from fellow Navyman Ronald Oranza.
Oranza, the Stage 2 winner, struggled this time and checked in at 15th overall, causing him to slip down to third spot, a minute and 41 seconds off the pace going to the fourth and final stage on Wednesday, a back-breaking 154.65-km trek to Baguio City made tougher by a Hors Category climb in the treacherous Kennon Road.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ven, 19, remained in strong contention as he moved up from 11th spot to second overall, just four seconds behind El Joshua.
However, the Cariño brothers, who both hail from Mangaldan, some 22 kilometers away from here, already pulled off an astonishing feat by becoming the first Filipino siblings to make a 1-2 finish in the only International Cycling Union-sanctioned road race in the country.
"We want to make history as the first brothers to win in the UCI," said El Joshua, savoring the feat in the presence of their father Bienvenido, 78. "It's easy for us because we're brothers. It's a dream come true for us because it's historic.."
Philippine national team member Mervin Corpuz, one of the country's promising riders, checked in a minute and 30 seconds behind the Cariños to cap another strong showing by local hopefuls who occupy seven spots in the Top 10 so far.
Navyman Jan Paul Morales, still the green jersey holder as the best sprinter, is running at fifth with a clocking of 8:19:11, followed by 2014 champion Mark Galedo (seventh, 8:19:17) and Marcelo Felipe (eighth, 8:19:17) of 7-Eleven Cliqq RoadBike Philippines and Navy's climbing specialist Junrey Navarra (ninth, 8:19:30).
Korean Jung Hajeon of Uijeaongbu Cycling Team continued to be the best foreigner so far after he checked in at sixth in the stage. But he slipped two rungs lower down to fourth in the GC rankings with a total time of 8:19:11.
A pair of foreign riders still in the Top 10 are Indonesian Aiman Cahyadi of Team Sapura, who moved a rung lower to sixth with an aggregate time of 8:19:14, and Terengganu's Eritrean rider Metkel Eyo who slid down from fourth to 10th overall with 8:20:11 clocking.
In the team classifications, the irrepressible Navymen continued to show the way with a total time of 25 hours, 56 minutes and four seconds, just three seconds ahead of Team 7-Eleven. Uijeongbu Cycling Team is at third, more than 12 minutes behind.
It was the Cariño brothers, however, who put on a show as they pounced on their weary rivals in the homestretch, with the sweltering heat making it tougher on the field which has been split to several groups after repeated attacks early on.
"Before we attacked, I said, 'Let's go!'" shared El Joshua. "The 7-11 guys didn't go after us, same thing with my teammates. Our game plan was followed. We let the foreigners gain ground. But maybe they were tired. We got lucky."