FILIPINO cyclists struggled and eventually paled in comparison with their better-honed foes in the recent 29th Asian Cycling Championships and 16th Asian Juniors Cycling Championships in Tenggarong and Samarinda in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
But the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines—or PhilCycling—that is recognized by the Union Cycliste Internationale has nothing to be disappointed about.
“We expected our athletes not to perform strongly in these championships,” said PhilCycling president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino. “Our cyclists were not fully prepared and fully-trained for the competition as compared to their Asian counterparts.”
The stalemate as to who the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) would recognize, Tolentino or Mikee Romero, has dragged Philippine cycling down since January—this despite the fact that the UCI has reiterated its recognition of Tolentino as the rightful national federation president.
Also, the PhilCycling, which delivered four gold medals in the Nakhon Ratchsima Southeast Asian Games in 2007 to the RP coffers—second best for the country to swimming’s eight—was marred by a “revolt” by a small group of cyclists who were dropped from the national team because of age and deteriorated skills, did not contribute any to the sport’s progress in the country in 2008.
Ironically, like all other national sports associations, the Asian championships have been transformed into a gauge as to how the country would fare in this December’s SEA Games in Laos.
Tolentino added: “The Filipino cyclists’ participation in these championships only shows the UCI and its continental arm, the Asian Cycling Confederation, continues to put premium on Philippine cycling through the PhilCycling.”
Veteran Baby Marites Bitbit placed ninth and Annaliza Dysangco 14th in a field of 40 in the women’s 20.7-km individual time trial which saw riders from China, Taipei and Kazakhstan finishing 1-2-3.
George Oconer and John Renee Mier were 16th and 22nd, respectively, among 49 riders in the 20.8-km junior boys ITT.
Earlier in the championships, Lloyd Lucien Reynante and John Marc Guevarra checked in 22nd and 29th in the 54-cyclist men’s 41.98-km ITT. Norberto Oconer coached the team.
by Jun Lomibao