FORMER Tour of Calabarzon champion Santy Barnachea again showed some of the fiery form that earned him victory in the Southern Tagalog more than a decade ago as he grabbed the overall lead when the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014 toured Quezon Province on Wednesday.
Taiwanese rider Feng Chun Kai of Team Gusto scored his second win in five stages, topping the 151.7-kilometer race around Quezon Province that started and ended in Lucena.
But it was the 37-year-old Barnachea, winner of the 2002 Calabarzon Tour and 2006 Padyak Pinoy Tour Pilipinas, who seized the limelight, outpedaling a bunch of young riders to finish ninth and grab the red jersey.
Feng won in three hours, 49 minutes and 11 seconds, while Barnachea checked in at 3:49.23 to vault from fifth to the top spot and take over from Cris Joven of 7-Eleven.
Barnachea, from Umingan in Pangasinan, has a total time of 17:14.00, while Mark Galedo moved to second place, just five seconds off the pace.
Reimon Lapaza, a 27-year-old who rides for Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao, is third at 17:14.19.
British rider Daniel Patten of Roadbike Philippines was a close second for the stage and had the same clocking as Feng.
Ronald Oranza took third place, while finishing just behind him and clocking the same 3:49.16 were Galedo, George Oconer, Julius Bordoes and Yin Chi Wang.
Galedo built a huge lead, getting ahead at Atimonan ZigZag Park’s Tatlong Eme and Bitukang Manok passes but he faded in the streets of Lucena City.
Oranza and Bordoes moved to No. 4 and 5 in the overall individual classification.
Rounding out the top 10 were Roadbike's Marcelo Felipe (17:18.01), Cycleline-Butuan Mindanao's Vicmar Vicente (17:18.09), Army's Reynaldo Navarro (17:18.34), Navy-Standard's George Oconer (17:18.40) and Matrix Powertag of Japan's Daiki Yasuhara (17:18.49).
The efforts of Galedo and Bordeos also catapulted 7-Eleven to the lead in the team standings with a time of 51:43.32. Navy-Standard is second (51:50.34) followed by Cycleline (51:51.03).