Isa pa -- Ronda Pilipinas 2015 winner Santy Barnachea
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 28, 2015 02:43 PM
BAGUIO --- One last time.
Moments after he was officially crowned champion of the Ronda Pilipinas 2015 presented by LBC, ageless Santy Barnachea vowed to return in next year's race in what he calls his last hurrah before he finally retires.
"Isa pa," said the 38-year-old Barnachea when asked if he's retiring.
Barnachea was actually contemplating on retiring this year but after emerging the reluctant champion and becoming the only two-time winner of the annual race considered as the biggest and richest in Asia, he decided to delay it one more year.
"Sinabi ko sa magulang ko bago mag-Ronda na magreretiro na ako pagkatapos," said Barnachea, who was met by his parents Santiago and Virginia and wife Michelle at the finish line in front of Burnham Park here.
"Pero nagdesisyon na ako na i-defend yung title ko. Tapos dun na ako mag-retire," he added.
Regardless, Barnachea has etched his name as one of the greatest Filipino cyclists that took up the sport having not only twice in Ronda but also topped two more prestigious races, the 2002 Tour of Calabarzon and the 2006 Padyak Pinoy.
Barnachea also did it without winning a single stage, just like the way he won Ronda's inagural edition four years ago.
What made the feat more significant is that Barnachea did it an age where nobody really expected him to do so.
Even the proud son of Umingan, Pangasinan himself admitted he didn't expect to win over younger and more athletic foes.
Barnachea was quick to credit his victory to his supportive teammates at Navy-Standard Insurance, which dominated the six-day, eight-stage race that covered about 1,000 kilometers of flat roads and mountain passes.
So dominating was the Navymen that they won almost every award possible.
Aside from Barnachea, five more Navy riders made it to the top 10 overall -- No. 3 Jan Paul Morales, No. 4 Ronald Oranza, No. 5 Lloyd Lucien Reynante and No. 10 El Joshua Carino.
Navy also has Carino as Standard Insurance Best Under-23 rider and Morales the Petron Sprint King.
The only awards it didn't win was the MVP Sports Foundation Best Under-18 rider, which went to 7-Eleven's Jay Lampawog and the Mitsubishi King of the Mountain plum, which PSC-PhilCycling Junrey Navarra took home.