Cycling: Former champs spearhead PH's charge in Ronda Pilipinas


Posted at Feb 06 2019 09:44 PM

Cycling: Former champs spearhead PH's charge in Ronda Pilipinas 1

MANILA, Philippines -- Four former champions -- including two-time winner Santy Barnachea of Team Franzia -- will lead the Philippines' campaign when the LBC Ronda Pilipinas opens on Friday at the City Health Office in Iloilo City.

The 42-year-old Barnachea, winner of the first edition in 2011 and again in 2015, will try to defy Father Time as he leads the charge for the Filipinos along with fellow Ronda winners Ronald Oranza and Jan Paul Morales of Navy-Standard Insurance, and Irish Valenzuela of 7-Eleven Cliqq.

Oranza is the reigning champion, while Morales won in 2016 and 2017. Valenzuela topped the race in 2012.

Mark Galedo, the 2013 title-holder, was supposed to lead a team of under-23 riders but pulled out in the last minute after his sponsors decided not to push through with their planned participation.

"It will be tough for sure but I still feel I still have what it takes to compete against the best," said Barnachea.

He represents a Team Franzia squad that is composed of Alvin Mandi, Kentz, Kentz Krog, Dennis Gabaldon, Ryan Tugawin and Allan Benito with Benis Caw as manager.

"We have an energetic team and we're optimistic of our chances," he said.

Aside from Team Franzia, the host Philippines will field in a competitive group of riders spearheaded by Continental teams Go for Gold and 7 Eleven Cliqq.

The other Philippine squads are Bike Xtreme, Army Bicycology and Team Tarlac.

Foreign teams seeing action in this UCI-sanctioned, five-stage race are: Terengganu, Matrix, Nex Cycling Team, Korail Team Korea, Custom Cycling Indonesia, Cambodia Cycling, PGN Road Cycling and Sri Lanka Navy Cycling Team.

At stake in the event are qualifying points to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The race opens with the 197.6-kilometer Iloilo-Iloilo Stage One on February 8 and will proceed with the 101.8-km Guimaras-Guimaras Stage Two the next day.

The cavalcade will then go back to Iloilo for the 179.4-km Iloilo-Roxas City Stage Three on February 10 followed by the 146.9-km Roxas-Roxas Stage Four on February 11.

It will conclude with the 148.9-km Roxas-Antique Stage Five on February 12.

The awarding ceremony will be held in the island paradise of Boracay the same day.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.