By CLYDE MARIANO
Manila, Philippines – Harvey Sicam used his mountain-climbing skills in ruling the demanding fourth stage of LBC Ronda Pilipinas Thursday that ended at La Independencia beside the 400-year-old Fort de San Pedro and the Malacañang of Cebu.
Sicam, nephew of the late back-to-back Jacinto Sicam (’81-‘82), sped away from nine fellow breakaway rivals in the last 10 kilometers to deny theww big crowd the chance to cheer on a hometown hero.
“Nang kumalas ako, hindi na ako lumingon at binira ko na ng husto hanggang sa ﬁ nish line,” said Sicam, who rode the colors of Road Bike Philippines.
Sicam was with a 12-man lead pack which included overall leader Santy Barnachea, Cebu skipper Warren Davadilla, and Rudy Roque that bolted away in the last 30 kilometers.
Sicam won P50,000 for his effort.
His victory shamed the tour’s prominent mountain climbers that include back-to-back King of the Mountain Irish Valenzuela and stage three winner and 2006 Padyak Pinoy champion Joel Calderon.
“Hindi makalusot yung mga bata ko. Pinagtulungan nila,” said American Vinyl coach and two-time winner Renato Dolosa.
The surviving 92 riders tackle the gruelling 132-kilometer ﬁ fth stage toughened by 32 kilometers of ascent from Balamban to Mountain View in Busay considered the second hardest lap next to the 14th leg from Solano, Nueva Viscaya to Baguio via the treacherous kilometers of Cayapa ascent overlooking Ambuklao Dam.
Sicam, a noted mountain-climbing specialist, is expected to figure prominently in the lung-busting, strength-sapping fifth lap.
“Mahirap ang lap dahil mahaba ang akyatin di tulad ng fourth lap. Gagawin at pipilitin kong kunin para tumatag ang tayo ko sa standing,“ said Sicam.
“This lap is an acid test of the cyclists’ stamina and endurance. For sure some of them wouldn’t be able to endure the punishment and will be forced to carry their bikes,“ said race organizer Ric Rodriguez.
Race chief judge Froi Dayco catego rized the fifth lap as “Hors Category“ meaning beyond classification as in the Tour of Langkawe and the Tour of Thailand.
“We call this lap wall because of its high altitude. This lap definitely will give the cyclists a lot of hardship and trouble be cause the course is very demanding where the cyclists will negotiate a 32-kilometer uphill stretch,“ Dayco told Manila Bulletin/Tempo.