LUCENA CITY, Philippines - – Former Ronda champions Santy Barnachea and Mark Galedo recalled their old form and dominated Stage 5 of the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014, seizing the 1-2 posts as erstwhile leader Cris Joven tumbled out of the Top 10 with a poor finish in the 151.7-km race around Quezon Province here yesterday.
Barnachea, the first Ronda king, finished the grueling race at ninth, posting a three-hour, 49-minute and 23-second clocking that catapulted him from fifth after Tuesday’s San Pablo-Lucena Stage Four to the overall lead with an aggregate time of 17:14:00, or five seconds ahead of the equally surging Galedo, the second Ronda champion.
Galedo, 27, made his move at the dreaded Atimonan ZigZag Park or better known as “Tatlong Eme” or “Bitukang Manok” where he gained a big lead only to lose steam before settling for third in a five-man group that checked in at 3:49:16 for a total clocking of 17:14:05 for second overall.
Taiwanese Feng Chun Kai outlasted Briton Daniel Patten of Roadbike Phl in another exciting finish to post a follow-up to his victory in the Amadeo-San Pablo Stage Three last Monday.
The two had the same time of 3:49:11.
Ronald Oranza, a third placer last year, also made a big leap, moving from No. 10 to No. 4 with a total time of 17:14:44, or just 44 seconds behind Barnachea.
Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao’s Reimon Lapaza, an unheralded 27-year-old rider, fell from No. 2 to No. 3 with a total time of 17:14:19 while Mark Julius Bordeos of 7-Eleven climbed to fifth followed by Roadbike’s Marcelo Felipe, Cycleline’s Vicmar Vicente, Army’s Rey Navarro, Navy-Standard’s George Oconer and Matrix Powertag’s Daiki Yasuhara, who clocked 17:18:01, 17:18:09, 17:18:34, 17:18:40 and 17:18:49, respectively.
Joven of 7-Eleven got stranded in the peloton that checked in last, thus yielding the lead and dropped out of the Top 10.
Barnachea and Galedo actually looked forward to just cutting Joven’s lead but the duo instead came through with a pair of solid runs to take charge.
“The original plan is to cut some time off the leader,” said the 37-year-old Barnachea, a native of Uminggan, Pangasinan, long considered as the hotbed of cycling, in Pilipino.
“I didn’t really expect to end up with the red jersey but since I’m here, I might as well try to fight for it,” he added.
Barnachea will be holding the leader’s jersey for the first time since seizing the lead for four days in Ronda’s second edition before losing it to eventual winner Irish Valenzuela of Army in Stage 5 in Busay, Cebu last year.
For Galedo, he was just too happy to conquer the treacherous Atimonan’s “Tatlong Eme” for its sharp, long and winding ascents.
“I just want to win that climb,” said Galedo, who has now four points behind Frenchman Peter Pouly of Infinite-Singha in the King of the Mountain race.
The efforts of Galedo and Bordeos also gave the Bong Sual-managed 7-Eleven the lead in the overall team race with 51:43:32, ahead of Navy-Standard’s 51:50:34 and former leader Cycleline’s 51:51:03.
The race will take a much-needed break today before resuming with a 153-km Stage Six tomorrow set to fire off in Lucena, pass through Sariaya, Candelaria and Tiaong in Quezon, San Pablo, Los Baños, Victoria, Santa Cruz, Pagsanjan and Siniloan in Laguna and Santa Maria, Tanay, Teresa and finally Antipolo City in Rizal.
This 14-stage event is presented by LBC, the largest courier and cargo company, sponsored MVP Sports Foundation, Petron, NLEX, Maynilad, PLDT and Mitsubishi, Versa 2 Way Radio and Standard Insurance and minor sponsor Air Asia Zest and C! Magazine, sanctioned by PhilCycling and backed by Shimano Cannondale bikes, the Department of Tourism and Phl National Police chief Allan Purisima.