Sports Eye

Pangasinan cyclists are the best, then and now
(Second of two series)

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

ASIDE from our 21 national Tour champions who brought 27 individual crowns to our province and 12 runner-up plums won by our local cyclists which I mentioned here last week, our cycling-crazy province also holds other numerous distinctions in this two-wheeled event that no province in the entire archipelago ever attained.

To start with, many may no longer know (especially the millennials) that Pangasinan pioneered Philippine cycling in 1955 under the wings of Bayambang-son the late Atty. Geruncio Lacuesta.  He was referred by our national scribes as “The Father of Philippine Cycling” for launching the fabled Tour of Luzon, the first multi-stage bikathon in the country until 1977.

Pangasinan is also the only province (so far) that produced two siblings that triumphed in a multi-stage bicycle marathon: first by the Cariño brothers Samson and Ruben of Mangaldan in 1975 and 1984, and the Bonzo brothers Modesto and Romeo of Sual in 1976 and 1983. The Cariño brothers were also the first to accomplish a 1-2 stage finish in 1977. This feat was only duplicated last year by relatives of the Cariño brothers of Mangaldan, finishing 1-2 in the third stage of the internationally flavored 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas finish in Lingayen last May.

Umingan-native Santy Barnachea broke the three-time Tour championships record both established by Antonio Arzala of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, this writer, and the late Manuel Reynante of Muntinlupa City, to become the only four-time Tour champion by winning in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2015. I doff my hat to him. That’s really an outstanding feat.

The last but not the least was 1985 Tour champion, the late Pepito Calip, whose record in the 36-kilometer time-trial stage has not been broken registering an incredible one hour, 15 minutes and 52 seconds from Saytan, Rosario, La Union to Burnham Park in Baguio City via Kennon Road. I also doff my hat to this fellow. Para siyang kabayo kung sumipa nuong kapanahonan niya.

It might interest others to know that Pangasinan also produced the only recording artist of the land who composed the national anthem of the cyclists titled “Buhay Siklista.” I did that!

Walang kokontra. Ang kokontra ay dapat mahiya.  Hehehe. It’s true.
That’s about all but if you have more trivia about our cyclists, please let me know.

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My big congrats to our nine young cyclists headed by veterans and Tour champions Ronald Oranza of Villasis and my town mate Joshua Cariño of Mangaldan, for being selected as members of the Philippine national team to represent our country in the 2019 SEA Games that will be hosted by the Philippines on November 30-December 12.  The other Pangasinenses in the team are: Dominic Perez of Sto. Tomas, Warren Bordeous of Laoac, Daniel Ven Cariño of Mangaldan, Efren Reyes of Dagupan City, Jay Lampawog, Bonjoe Martin and Aljim Martin from Villasis.

Nine Pangasinenses in the national squad is a clear proof (again) that this two-wheeled sport is really our sport that we must truly be proud of.  (They will be joined by other Philippine elite riders like two Tour winners John Mark Galedo, Jan Paul Morales, Rustom Lim, George Oconer, to name some)

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. PROVERBS 21: 15

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