The cream of the country’s crop of elite road cycling would be banded in what the PhilCycling would call a “Super Team” whose principal objective is to qualify a Filipino to the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
PhilCycling President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino gave the marching order to form the “Super Team” as he stressed on a stringent and comprehensive criteria that would determine the composition of the squad.
“We have one full year of achieving a goal of qualifying a Filipino cyclist to the Tokyo Olympics and we want to put together the best of the best on the national team,” said Tolentino, also a congressman from the lone district of Tagaytay City.
Tolentino outlined the criteria for selection that includes a cyclist’s performance in International Cycling Union races, continental and national championships and domestic events, Asia and world ranking and the intangibles such as attitude, ethic and discipline.
“The PhilCycling will scrutinize the cyclists’ credentials and from there, a selection committee in the federation would determine the composition of the team,” Tolentino, chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee, said.
A major reorganization of the national road and track team for men and women is in the offing with Tolentino confirming that the coaching staff would be included in the revamp.
The Road Cycling Qualification System for the 32nd Olympiad in Tokyo pegged the road race roster at 128 men and 65 women with the Top 50 national Olympic committees (countries) earning at least one slot each.
The gold medal winner in next year’s continental championships—in the Asian Cycling Championship’s case, Uzbekistan in March—would get an automatic berth for the Tokyo Games.
The qualifying season starts on Oct. 22 and ends on Oct. 27, 2019.
“We will make sure that we won’t let this opportunity slip our hands,” said Tolentino, who added that the PhilCycling would also band its partners from the private sector—especially sponsors of continental and club teams—to create a pool of godfathers for the “Super Team.”
The Philippines is currently ranked No. 12 in the Asia Tour with 217 ranking points. In the UCI world rankings, the country stands strategically outside the Magic 50 at No. 69.
Philippine road cycling got a shot in the arm last month with the victory of Navy-Standard Insurance’s El Joshua Carino in the Le Tour de Filipinas—the third Filipino to win the UCI Asia Tour Category 2.2 race after 7-Eleven Roadbike Philippines riders Baler Ravina in 2012 and Mark Galedo in 2014.
Ronda Pilipinas champion Ronald Oranza, also of Navy-Standard Insurance—figured prominently in the Le Tour de Filipinas, while his Navy teammate Jan Paul Morales won the national championships last January.