Exultant pedal pushers went back in the saddle on 14 November 2021, in San Fabian, as they took part in the later-than-scheduled MTB competition dubbed the first Tiziano and Ettore Rossi Mountain Bike Challenge organized by Jazysports founder and former two-time Guam Olympian and Guam national cycling tour champion, Jazy Fernandez Garcia, the son of 1973 Tour of Luzon, 1977 Marlboro Tour and Tour of PICCA titlist and the only singing cyclist of the land, Mr. Jesus Garcia, Jr.

The proponent of the said race is Mr. Tiziano Rossi, a 32-year-old former professional Italian wheeler, who, after his parents’ persuasion, initially joined S.C. Piossasco Team in his teenage years and later the Biringhello Domina Vacanze Team, one of the best cycling teams in Italy, which compelled him to stay in Milan for a couple of years.

The first Tiziano and Ettore Rossi’s mountain bike challenge was originally slated in September 2021, but it was indefinitely postponed due to heightened quarantine, health and safety protocols strictly enforced by the Pangasinan government as the COVID-19 caseload and variants of concern began to spike in the province.

The highly organized race, exclusively for Pangasinan residents, was comprised of five categories, to wit: Open (18-45), Junior (14 to 17), Masters (46 up), Executive/Managers (40 up with business license and employment ID), and Women’s Open (14 up).

Over 120 exhilarated registrants turned up at the Tiziano cycle refreshments store in Barangay Lipit-Tomeeng, San Fabian town.

Barangay Lipit-Tomeeng is among the fifteen bike trails and tourist spots in San Fabian which attracts bike aficionados from nearby towns of the seaside municipality.

The length of the race is approximately 27 kilometers, the majority of which is undulating and winding. It traversed nine barangays, five of which are upland barangays. The terrain is a mix of paved and gravel roads, not to mention the killer ascent ( between 15 and 17 percent gradient the most).

The Junior Category was the first among the five categories Mr. Jazy Fernandez scheduled on this day. It is comprised of 55 riders, aged 14 to 17.

Along Pangasinan-La Union Rd, after leaving from the start line and descending the trail of Barangay Lipit-Tomeeng, the 55 riders were flagged off.

Two junior riders formed the first lead pack composed of John Paul Gaddi and Knowell Ulatan.

The early breakaway was overtaken immediately by Aaron Aquino and Rain Barrozo, pursued by Knowell Ulatan.

As the junior category three-man breakaway, comprised of Aaron Aquino, Rain Barrozo and Knowell Ulatan started traversing and ascending a hill approaching Barangay Bigbiga in San Fabian, San Manuel hopeful Adrian Oliver Nicolas checked in and took charge relentlessly and overwhelmed Aquino, Barrozo and Ulatan in an instant.

At this moment, the peloton likewise smashed the trio outright as they negotiated the steep terrain at a seven percent gradient with an elevation of 39 meters above sea level.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old junior rider, Adrian Oliver Nicolas of San Manuel, Pangasinan, began to negotiate all by his lonesome one of the five upland barangays scheduled in the 27-km racecourse conceptualized by the two-time Guam Olympian, Jazy Fernandez Garcia, for the 1st Tiziano & Ettore Rossi Lipit-Tomeeng MTB Challenge in the seaside town of Pangasinan.

Moments later, Jonathan Abalos appeared on the horizon, hunting down Nicolas at full pelt. Nicolas and Abalos then met somewhere in Barangay Bigbiga as they both bagged the peak and ridge. The rivalry of the two riders was only dissolved after Abalos went astray and not heeded warnings from the marshall right after crossing the boundary of Inmalog Sur and Lipit Tomeeng near RHU.

At this juncture, Adrian Oliver Nicolas started to rule and had kept things humming for the next 12 kilometers until he went solo down the lane all the way in front of Tiziano Cycle Refreshments Store in Lipit-Tomeeng where the start and finish are situated.

The San Manuel hopeful, Adrian Nicolas, ran away with the top podium after his impressive wire-to-wire finish.

Adrian Oliver NicolasSan Manuel1st
Jonathan AbalosSanta Barbara2nd
Paulo LorenaSan Manuel3rd
John Paul GaddiSan Manuel4th
Vanjoe CalimlimSanta Barbara5th

On the other hand, 38 riders signed up for the Open Category.

As the race officials set the race in motion, the rivalry began to unfold in the 3-Km neutral zone in the upland barangay of Lipit-Tomeeng.

Moments after these ardent wheelers were flagged off, one rider scrammed and charged leaving the remaining 37 riders in the cold, as the headwind continued to threaten the partakers along the stretch of Pangasinan-La Union Road. 

Shortly after the initial breakaway, two more riders checked in and formed the first lead pack under the pounding of strong headwinds coming from Lingayen Gulf.

As they made their first ascent, the main bunch had split into different groups as they bagged the first lung-busting 17 percent steepness at 38 meters above sea level, approaching Barangay Bigbiga.

The survival of the fittest persisted for the next 8 kilometers with 7 down to 5 riders persistently towed by Navy rouler El Joshua Cariño until the Mangaldan Pride made his way solo for 3 to 5 kilometers and widened the gap en route to Barangay Palapad.

El Joshua Cariño plugs along with his wide lead as he completes the first half of the racecourse.

Later, Cariño was relentlessly pursued and overwhelmed by four hell-bent riders and formed the final 5-man breakaway in Barangay Palapad. At this juncture, the four riders were at Cariño’s feet.

From Palapad to Lipit-Tomeeng, the final lead pack was at loose ends but remained intact until El Joshua Cariño pulled away in the final 500 meters. Consequently, the four riders took charge and kept the ball rolling for the next 450 meters at a 9 percent gradient.

Moments later, Cariño attempted to resurrect through the back door, but Sherwin Carrera suddenly initiated the attack, sprinting to the finish that prompted the Navy youngster, Esteve Hora, to make headway on the double to the finish. The astonishing head-to-head commenced at the final 70 meters.

As both riders dashed headlong to the finish line, Eagle Cement skipper Sherwin Carrera was sidetracked as Navy stripling, Esteve Hora, went off the road but got off easy and quickly returned to the lane, cutting Carrera in return in the sharp curve.

At length, Eagle Cement rider Carrera met his match in the person of the Open Category champion Esteve Hora, the Philippine Navy Standard Insurance’s newest recruit, who stormed to victory and pushed good watts.

Esteve HoraSan Manuel1st
Sherwin CarreraSan Fabian2nd
Robeno JavierSanto Tomas3rd
Kenneth MarambaDagupan4th
El Joshua CariñoMangaldan5th

The Province of Pangasinan is still the hotbed of cycling in the country as it has been hailed as the cradle for national cycling tour champions and record-holders in the field of cycling, producing 21 professional cycling champions mostly in Mangaldan Town located in Central Pangasinan.

Presented to you by DWAENTERTAINMENT & Jazysports


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