2022 Ronda’s route and our Pangasinan participants

By February 27, 2022Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

“IT’S summer time so it’s cycling time,” as the saying goes for media people comes summer time. Yes, that’s so true because in less than two weeks from today, the annual summer sports spectacle “LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2022” multi-stage cycling race will definitely reel off on March 11-20 after a year of pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ten-day bikefest is a road battle among our country’s 104 professional pedal-pushers divided into 13 commercial, regional and government teams with defending champion Metro Manila stalwart George Oconer of the vaunted Standard Insurance who is hellbent on scoring a back-to-back victory. Aside from the Standard Insurance, other well-known cycling squads aiming to walk away with a big chunk of the P3.5 million bucks to be given away are Go for Gold, Champ Café, Eagle Cement, Dreyna, Vpharma, Bike Kings Laguna, Philippine Navy, Philippine Army, Team Nueva Ecija, Vantage Ilocos Norte, Team Quezon Province, Team Ilocos Sur and the neophyte squad Excellent Noodles which will be bannered by the aging (47 years old) and only four-time national Tour champion, Santy Barnachea.

Sixteen of our elite Pangasinan road battlers headed by 2018 Ronda champion Ronald Oranza of Villasis, 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas winner Joshua Cariño of my town Mangaldan and Barnachea of Umingan will be aiming for the top prizes. Unfortunately, our sixteen cream-of-the-crop road warriors were deliberately segregated by the organizers into different teams which I believe purposely to balance the competitions, for team honors.

Joining the three are Dominic Perez of Sto. Tomas, Daniel Cariño (younger brother of Joshua) of Mangaldan, Melvin Corpuz of Umingan, Alfie Catalan and Steve Hora of San Manuel, brothers Warren and Mark Julius Bordeos and Jinggo Tabayoyong of Laoac, Bonijoe Martin of Villasis, Reynaldo Navarrro of San Jacinto, Kenneth Solis of Malasiqui, Efren Reyes of Dagupan City and Sherwin Carrera of San Fabian. I will call them, “The Flying 16 Pangasinenses.” I have a suspicion that contestants John Pablo and Yyan Martin are also Pangasinenses. I have to confirm that. And if I’m right, we actually have a total of 18 Pangasinan participants.

The route says that the March 11 commencement leg is a race-against-the-clock inside Sorsogon City. A 163-kilometer flat stretch from Sorsogon to Legaspi City will make up the second leg, before tackling the 189-kilometer third stage to Daet, Camarines Norte. But stage 4 from Daet to Lucena City appears to be one of the punishing stages because of its distance (212 kilometers) with some mountains to cross as well in the Lucena – Tagaytay City segment covering 157 kilometers. After one day of rest, the Ronda riders will motor to Tarlac City where the 180-kilometer trek to Baler, Quezon stage 7 will start on March 17.  From there, the Ronda to Echague, Isabela (174 kilometers) starts the following day before hitting the punishing penultimate stage the Echague to Baguio City 193 kilometers run via Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya – Ambuklao route.

The ultimate lap will be a criterium event at the circled-square Burnham Park which I describe it as just a ceremonial and anti-climatic finish.

I will take a journey to Pines City on March 19 and 20 to witness the deciding 9th stage and the tenth and final day as well as the colorful part the awarding ceremony. Hopefully our local boys will win again like they did in 2018, led by Oranza. Let’s hope there will be no more COVID-19 surge in the city during these dates.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. LEVITICUS 20:13

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