RP-711 bikers hit by food poisoning in Vietnam tour, finish 6th
THE entire Roadbike Phils-711 contingent got hit by food poisoning Wednesday night, leaving only three riders to race in the ninth and final leg of the Binh Duong TV Cup Tour of Vietnam last Thursday and wound up sixth overall in the nine-stage international competition.
“It must have been the vegetables that we ate for dinner,” said team director Ric Rodriguez in an overseas call after Lloyd Lucien Reynante, Merculio Ramos Jr. and Mark Rhome Antonio were left to carry on the fight in the last stop that finished in front of the Binh Duong TV network in southeastern Vietnam province of Binh Duong
Rodriguez explained that the race organizers gave competing clubs meal allowances each to buy their own food, and he suspects it was the “kangkong” they ate that downed the team.
“Everyone one of us in the delegation, including myself, was dizzy and had stomach pains after eating,” he said “, and we had to work late into early morning to see everybody was all right.”
The worst affected were 2009 Tour of Luzon champ Mark Guevarra and Nikko Cortez, who were too ill to compete the next day, Rodriguez added.
“Lloyd, Elmo (Ramos) and Rhome tried to do their best in the final stage, but they had nothing in the tank left because of what happened to us last Wednesday,” he said. “Wala talagang laman.”
He said that sixth place finish by the RP-71 cyclists could have been better if not for the several flats that hit them in Stage 8, a 150-km. drive from Na Thrang to Phan Rang, were Ramos finished second in the individual standings.
“Lloyd and Mark were part of that lead group spearheaded by Elmo but both suffered flat tires with 15 kilometers to go from the finish line and were unable to catch up with the pack,” said Rodriguez, disclosing they had a total of six flats that fateful day.
“Kung kasama sa lead pack yong dalawa, baka naka-third overall pa tayo.”
Notwithstanding the bad breaks, Rodriguez said, it was a still a good outing for the team sanctioned by PhilCycling headed by Tagaytay Mayor Bambol Tolentino and supported by 711 convenience store chain boss Vic Paterno.
Ramos was the top Pinoy rider at 14th overall, copped Stage No. 3 and had two runner-up leg finishes, Reynante also placed second twice, while the team was able to capture leg honors in the third and fifth stage of the cycling series, he pointed out.
The next overseas contest for the RP-711 bikers, who returned home yesterday, will be the Tour of Thailand early next month, Rodriguez said.