In a nutshell, Santy Barnachea is one of the seasoned road racing cyclists who rose to stardom in Philippine Pro Cycling.
The lanky Pangasinan pride hails from Umingan—a first-class municipality in the Province of Pangasinan.
The Umingan native first joined professional cycling in Marlboro Tour 1997—the penultimate edition of the longest-running and most renowned cycling race in the Philippines.
He won his first championship crown in FedEx Express Tour ng Calabarzon in 2002, a forerunner of Tour Pilipinas (2003-2004), Golden Tour 50 (2005) and Padyak Pinoy (2006-2009), for which he earned his second overall championship title in 2006. Likewise, the Pangasinan top-grade cyclist participated in Le Tour de Filipinas.
The different road cycling competitions mentioned above are the successors of the Tour of Luzon and Marlboro Tour.
When LBC Ronda Pilipinas made its magnetic debut in 2011, Santy Barnachea rose to prominence once and for all by winning the championship crowns in the inaugural race in 2011 and its 5th edition in 2015.
According to the legendary three-time national tour champion, Jesus “The Singing Cyclist” Garcia, Jr., his godson Barnachea is among the 21 Pangasinenses included in the province’s pro-cycling winners as of writing. The domination of Pangasinan in professional cycling competition began when Rufino Gabot, a native of Barangay Laoac (now a separate municipality), Manaoag, Pangasinan, beat the pants off his rivals in the second edition of Tour of Luzon in 1957, Since then, majority of Pangasinenses had become known in the modern day professional cycling,
Here are the Pangasinan pro cyclists who grabbed the headlines back in the day: 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).
Meanwhile, 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.
Likewise, 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. Unfortunately, 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.
In 2018, or roughly three years after leaving Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, his team for four years, Barnachea took the helm of Franzia Wine in LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2018.
In the same way, Santy Barnachea stirred Jeremy Go-managed seven-man Scratch It during the staging of LBC Ronda Pilipinas 10th year anniversary race.
The Scratch It team captain was among the five former Ronda Champions who made a comeback and competed in the anniversary race alongside 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. Morales had ranked 12th and Barnachea 31st in the overall individual general classification as the race drew to its close.
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.