AGELESS tour champion Santy Barnachea is postponing retirement for one more shot at cycling glory.

Mr. Barnachea has teamed up with fellow two-time LBC Ronda Pilipinas king Jan Paul Morales and will represent Excellent Noodles when the 11th edition of the annual cycling spectacle returns with a 10-stage race unfurling on Friday in Sorsogon and ending on March 20 in Baguio.

The 47-year-old Umingan, Pangasinan native announced his retirement two years ago, but changed his mind after he felt he still has something left in the tank.

“For me, he still has what it takes to win again and he isn’t a many-time champion for nothing,” said the 36-year-old Mr. Morales, a former Navy Standard team captain, of Mr. Barnachea, who will skipper Excellent Noodles.

Ryan Tugawin, Mervin Corpuz, Bonijoe Martin, Joshua Bonifacio and under-23 riders Mar Francis Sudario and Joshua Pascual will backstop the grizzled pair in their quest to rake in the lion share of the P3.5 million including the top purse worth P1 million for the individual champion and the P200,000 for the team crown.

Navy Standard Insurance, Philippine Army, Team Nueva Ecija, Dreyna, Eagle Cement, Champ Café, Bike Kings Laguna, Vantage Ilocos Norte, VPharma, Team Quezon Province, Team Ilocos Sur and Go for Gold are the other teams plunging into action.

The 10-day event is bankrolled by LBC Express, Inc., MVP Sports Foundation, Quad X, Twin Cycle Gear, Standard Insurance, Print2Go, Elves Bicycles, Elitewheels, Orome, Maynilad and Garmin, Petron, Boy Kanin, Green Planet Bikeshop, Prolite, Black Mamba, Lightwater and LBC Foundation and recognized by PhilCycling and Games and Amusements Board.

Ronda will open with a Stage One Individual Time Trial and Stage Two Team Time Trial on March 11 in Sorsogon followed by the 163-kilometer Sorsogon-Legazpi City Stage Three on March 12 and 189.1km Legazpi-Daet Stage Four on March 13.

It will be followed by the 212km Daet-Lucena Stage Five on March 14 and 157.4km Lucena-Tagaytay Stage Six on March 15.

After a one-day break, the race will wind up with the 180.4km Tarlac-Baler Stage Seven on March 17, 174.4km Baler-Echgue, Isabela Stage Eight on March 18, 193.2km Santiago, Isabela-Baguio Stage Nine on March 19 and Baguio City Stage 10 criterium on March 20. — Joey Villar