CEBU CITY , Philippines – Roadbike Phils’ Harvey Sicam bested a slew of seasoned riders to record his first-lap victory in three years even as Santy Barnachea kept the overall lead after Stage Four of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2013 that started and ended here yesterday.
Sicam, drawing inspiration from his late uncle – back-to-back Marlboro Tour champion Jacinto, outsprinted Warren Davadilla in a mad dash for home in front of the Independencia Plaza near the Magellan Cross and spoiled Y101 FM-Cebu skipper’s bid of winning before his provincemates.
The 26-year-old San Manuel, Pangasinan native raised his arms in triumph as he crossed the finish line before the big crowd that included City Mayor Michael Rama, savoring the sweet taste of a first-ever win with a three-hour, 45-minute, two-second clocking ove rhte 134.2-km race
“I always go to my uncle’s (Jacinto’s) tomb in San Manuel before I join any race to ask for guidance and inspiration,” said a soft-spoken Sicam, who pocketed P50,000 for his feat.
“I hope I made him and my family proud,” he added.
Team Enrile’s Ryan Tugawin, a 23-year-old Ronda rookie out of Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, and VMobile-Smart’s Rey Martin, a 25-year-old native of Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija, both clocked 3:45.04 but the former took the runner-up honors.
Davadilla, the 38-year-old two-time Tour champion, checked in with Navy-Standard’s Dante Cagas and PLDT-Spyder’s Ronald Oranza at No. 4 in 3:45.09. But he took the Jinbei King of the Mountain race honors from Oranza and LPGMA-American Vinyl’s Irish Valenzuela.
“At least, I had a chance to show them that I still have some fight left in me,” said Davadilla, whose only KOM triumph came when he topped the 2005 Golden Tour, his second since he ruled the last of the fabled Marlboro Tour in 1999.
It was Barnachea, however, who made the biggest gain as he padded his overall lead despite fading again in the last two kilometers and finishing eight in 3:45.31 in the race sponsored by LBC Express, Inc., the country’s leading courier firm, and backed by Total, the MVP Sports Foundation, Jinbei Auto, Smart, Icom iDAS, Standard Insurance, Maynilad and NLEX.
Barnachea, who ruled the inaugural LBC Ronda Pilipinas edition in 2011, thus remained atop the heap for the third straight stage with an aggregate clocking of 13:39.50, 2.25 minutes ahead of Team Tarlac’s Tomas Martinez, who has 13:42.15.
Barnachea could’ve actually stretched his lead as he was in the lead pack going to the last 10 kms. “But I got hungry so I was forced to slow down in the last two kms.”
Interestingly, Barnachea, a Navy second class, was in the group that got lost in Carcar town but was immediately ordered by race officials headed by Ric Rodriguez to detour to the original route that resulted to a minor delay of the race.
The surviving 92 riders also rode through heavy rains in Toledo, thus slowing down the entourage.
Rudy Roque of LPGMA-American Vinyl also made a significant leap, finishing at No. 7 in 3:45.11 for a total clocking of 13:42.24 and moving 2.34 minutes behind Barnachea.
George Oconer of Navy Standard, Ronald Oranza of PLDT-Spyder and Sicam were at Nos. 4, 5 and 10 in 13:43.30, 13:43.32 and 13:43.54, respectively, while No. 6 Ronald Gorantes of Roadbike Phls (13:43.36), No. 7 Irish Valenzuela of LPGMA-American Vinyl (13:43.37), No. 8 Martin (13:43.40) and 2009 Tour winner No. 9 Joel Calderon of VMobile-Smart (13:43.45) skidded a bit.
Reigning titlist Mark Galedo of Roadbike Phl continued to struggle and wound up in a 40-man group to stay at No. 17 in 13:45.39, 5.49 minutes off the pace.
Barnachea and his Navy-Standard squad remained atop the overall team lead in 41:03.21 ahead of last year’s winner VMobile-Smart (41:07.43), Roadbike Phl (41:09.45), LPGMA-American Vinyl (41:10.35), Team Tarlac (41:15.46), PLDT-Spyder (41:17.00) and Y101 FM-Cebu (41:17.34).