SANTY Barnachea rode steady to extend his lead, while Harvey Sicam shared the limelight by winning Stage Four of the Ronda Pilipinas on Thursday in Cebu City.
The 36-year-old Barnachea kept the 26-year-old Sicam within sight and finished eighth to pad his lead by 24 seconds.
Roadbike Philippines rider Sicam, 26, finished the 134.2-km race that started and ended at the Plaza Independencia near the famous Magellan's Cross in three hours, 45 minutes and two seconds while Navy-Standard's Barnachea clocked 3:45.31. Sicam is the nephew of nephew of 1981 and 1982 Tour of the Philippines champion Jacinto Sicam.
Barnachea, who won the Tour of Calabarzon in 2002 and the Padyak Pinoy in 2006, has an aggregate time of 13:39:50 and enters Stage Five with a lead of two minutes and 25 over Team Tarlac's Tomas Martinez (13:42.15).
Team Enrile's Ryan Tugawin, a 23-year-old Ronda rookie, checked in two seconds after Sicam for second place while taking third place with the same clocking was VMobile-Smart's Rey Martin from Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija.
"Ito na pinakamagandang nangyari sa akin sa Ronda," said Sicam, a native of San Manuel, Pangasinan. It was Sicam’s first stage win in two Ronda Tours.
Rudy Roque of LPGMA-American Vinyl finished seventh in 3:45.11 to remain at No. 3 with a total clocking of 13:42.24.
"Malaking bagay na yung nakalapit ako sa kanila kahit kaunti, paunti-unti lang talaga plano namin," said Roque, a 21-year-old native of Tipo, Bataan.
George Oconer of Navy Standard is running fourth (13:43.30) followed by Ronald Oranza of PLDT-Spyder (13:43.32) and Sicam (13:43.54).
Defending champion Mark Galedo of Roadbike continued to ride it safe and crossed the finish line with the 40-man peloton to stay at No. 17 in 13:45.39, an alarming 5:49 minutes off the pace.
Stage Five is a 156.8-km race from the Lapu Lapu City Hall and to the top of the mountain at the Mountain View Natures Park in Brgy. Busay, Cebu.