In a nutshell, Santy Barnachea is one of the seasoned road racing cyclists who rose to stardom in Philippine Cycling.

He hails from Umingan—a first-class municipality in the Province of Pangasinan.

The Umingan pride first joined professional cycling in Marlboro Tour 1997—the penultimate edition of the most renowned cycling race in the Philippines.

He won his first championship crown in Fed Express Tour ng Calabarzon in 2002, which later became Tour Pilipinas (2003-2004), Golden Tour 50 (2005), Padyak Pinoy (2006-2009), for which he earned the overall championship title in 2006, and finally, Le Tour de Filipinas.

The different cycling races mentioned above are the successors of Tour of Luzon and Marlboro Tour—the longest-running cycling competition ever staged in the Philippines.

When LBC Ronda Pilipinas made its debut in 2011, Santy Barnachea rose to prominence once more by winning the championship crown in the inaugural race of the newest and would-be biggest cycling race in the Philippines.

His feat had continued when in the fifth edition of Ronda Pilipinas, he won the overall championship title anew in the said multi-stage competition in 2015.

According to the legendary three-time tour champion, Jesus “the singing cyclist” Garcia, Jr., Barnachea is among the 21 Pangasinenses included in the province’s cycling Hall of Famers.

Pangasinan, dubbed the home of the cycling champions, is home to 21 cycling Hall of Famers like Rufino Gabot—the first Pangasinense Champion (1957), Mamerto Eden (1958), Edmundo de Guzman (1962), Gonzalo Recodos (1963), Jesus Garcia (1973 and twice in 1977), Teodorico Rimarim (1974), Samson Cariño and Samson Etrata (1975), Modesto Bonzo (1976), Jacinto Sicam (1981 and 1982), Romeo Bonzo (1983), Ruben Cariño (1984), Pepito Calip (1985), Bernardo Llentada (1991), Reynaldo Navarro (2000), Wilfredo Calosa (2001), Santy Barnachea (2002, 2006, 2011 and 2015), Arnel Quirimit (2003), Baler Ravina (2012), Ronald Oranza (2018), and El Joshua Cariño (2018).

In 2001, Wilfredo Calosa broke the 10-year championship drought of Pangasinan, while Santy Barnachea recorded the most number of championship titles from different local races in 2002, 2006, 2011 and 2015.

Also, Binalonan-son Pepito Calip’s unprecedented record of 1 hour, 12 minutes, and 51 seconds for a 36-kilometer run from La Union to Baguio City remained unbroken. However, on 19 March 2018, Pepito Calip, the Marlboro Tour ’85 champion and a former police officer, was gunned down allegedly due to land-related issues.

During the LBC Ronda Pilipinas anniversary race, Santy Barnachea represented Jeremy Go-led group Scratch It alongside seven riders in its roster.

The Scratch It team leader was among the five former Ronda Champions who competed in the anniversary race along with the former back-to-back champion Jan Paul Morales of the Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, Mark Galedo of the 7-Eleven Cliqq-Air 21 by Road Bike Philippines , Reimon Lapaza of Celeste Cycles Phil, and Ronald Oranza of the Philippine Navy Standard Insurance.

The two road warriors, Barnachea and Morales, failed their bid to seize the third overall championship crown. Though, Morales ranked 12th and Barnachea 31st in the overall individual general classification in the competition as mentioned earlier.

Rival Jan Paul Morales, the Navy’s skipper, won three stage-wins, including the Sprint leadership in the said multi-stage race.

When interviewed, the 44-year old Santy Barnachea disclosed that he is now officially retired from the local races, but still looking forward to participating in masters races in Malaysia this year.


Santy Barnachea fields questions from the author before the start of the race in Sorsogon City Baywalk, Sorsogon on 23 February 2020.

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