The Franzia Executives Cycling Team continues to venture on a road of fitness and fun as its members now eye to conquer the Ronda Pilipinas 2018 by fielding a Franzia PRO Team in the most prestigious cycling competition in the country today. Franzia PRO Team is also considered a rookie team in Ronda 2018. It hopes to liberate aspiring young athletes on the fitness and excitement that cycling can bring; aiming to have the younger generation continue what team founder Mr. Lucio “Jun” Cochanco, Jr. had started, the Franzia Heritage.
Ronda Pilipinas has seen thousands of cycling enthusiasts support the event since way back in 2011. This year, Ronda Pilipinas 2018 will have a 12-stage race which started in Vigan, Ilocos Sur on March 03 and will end in Filinvest, Alabang on March 18 with 12 competing teams and 96 participating cyclists; and a whopping 1 million peso prize for the winner.
Eight of the participating cyclists will come from the Franzia Pro Cycling Team, headed by Team Captain, the two-time and inaugural champion of Ronda Pilipinas, Santy Barnachea (41 years old). Along with him are fellow highly-experienced cyclists: Leonel Dimaano (32 years old) a former participant of the SEA Games; Beejay Nojana, (28 years old); Dennis Gabaldon (23 years old); Alshyrnel Amiladjid, (21 years old); Jinggo Tabayoyong, (21 years old); Mervin Corpuz, (20 years old), also a former SEA Games Participant; and the youngest of the team, Kenneth Krog, (19 years old). This team is currently mentored by the Veteran Cyclist and a Marlboro Tour Multiple Stage Winner, Coach Johnny Borja.
These men found themselves greatly appreciating cycling as it didn’t just help them be in good shape, but it was the stories that the activity has brought them in the past, which made their love for cycling grow even stronger.
“Nalayo ako sa masamang impluwensya,” said the 19-year-old Krog, stating how cycling changed his life since he started when he was 15. Said he doesn’t just enjoy cycling because it keeps him fit, but because it takes him to various places.
For others, it may be for fitness, but for Amiladjid, it’s all about the brotherhood which he forms with his teammates. The friendliness of not just the members of the team, but all cyclists in general, is what keeps him motivated. Amiladjid is a competitive person. He is too passionate and serious about sports, that’s why according to him, he couldn’t accept that he wasn’t good at cycling. He kept on going until eventually, he became so attached that he had to let go of his first sport, which is swimming.
Tabayoyong, who built his own bike in their farm in San Miguel, Pangasinan at 17 years old, remembers how he used to sneak out just to ride, as his parents didn’t want him cycling. At the Ronda Pilipinas 2018, he’s aiming to win so he could buy a new cow to add extra help for his parents on the farm.
The family is Dimaano’s inspiration as well, looking forward to train his kids and one day share the road with them. When asked for an advice for other aspiring cyclists, Dimaano said, “Tamang training lang and huwag mayabang. Dapat walang takot, laban lang.” He sees cycling as a mind game that requires focus.
Gabaldon, on the other hand, is one of the newest participants of Ronda Pilipinas being watched out for by the cycling community as he made some noise during the Luzon qualifying leg. He said that he wishes to improve his stats in this race as he pursues a deeper career in cycling.
Thankful is one of the members, Nojana, as he saw the effects of cycling against his asthma attacks, which recurred at some point when he stopped with the activity to work as a merchandiser and as a timekeeper. As well as Team Captain Barnachea as he thought he’d be an alcoholic if he didn’t start with cycling.
Barnachea believes that cycling has a better chance of representing the country in international competitions than basketball if given enough attention and support. Already a two-time champion of Ronda Pilipinas and won several other competitions, Barnachea always challenges himself to improve. He believes that cycling is an equalizer of age and economic status in life. Once a rider gets on his bike in a race, it will be his determination that will matter most. As team captain, he envisions the team to go up onstage and receive recognition together. He always tells them, especially his nephew Mervin Cruz – also part of Franzia Pro Team, to stay humble all the time.
Cruz’s is inspired by his uncle’s achievements in cycling. He vividly recalls that Barnachea’s graduation gift to him when he finished high school is the bike his uncle won from Padyak Pinoy 2006. He trains hard and became part of the national team and already competed in different countries.
Determination, hard work and the burning passion of Franzia Pro Cycling Team are the elements that bind this team together, as they aspire not only to win but to promote the overall sport as well.