There will be two continental teams from the Philippines seeking qualifying slots to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics—the 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines and the Go For Gold Philippine team.
The two start their journey by joining the 5-day LBC-Ronda Pilipinas 2019 slated from Feb. 8 to 12 in the islands of Iloilo, Guimaras, Roxas City and Antique.
After expanding their programs to include the women’s elite and an under-23 junior squad, organizers said they are ready to take on the challenge of getting somebody qualified.
“We hope to send somebody to the Olympics. From there, we will support their participation in national and international meets,” said Philippine Seven Corporation president and CEO Victor Paterno, who talked about their undertaking during Sunday’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Philippine 7-Eleven continental team, which got another backer in Air21, through its chairman Bert Lina.
Lina’s daughter, Donna May, confirmed the support of Air21 to Paterno during a gathering and presentation at the Golden Phoenix Hotel in Pasay City, where they were joined by PhilCycling officials Bong Sual and Caloy Gredonia.
Mark Galedo, a 2013 gold medallist in the individual time trial of the Southeast Asian Games, will be the oldest member of Team A at 33.
There are also plans to send a team to the 2019 Asian Cycling Championships in Uzbekistan this April.
On the other hand, Marcelo Felipe, the best-finishing Filipino rider in the Le Tour de Filipinas 2016, will be part of Team B seeing action in the LBC-Ronda Pilipinas 2019, which is one of three Olympic qualifying competitions that will be staged in the country this year.
The second will be the PRULife Philippine race from May 24 to 26 in Subic Bay, Zanbales.
The Le Tour de Filipinas 2019, which will be held starting June 14, is the third Olympic qualifier.
“How do we qualify? There are many ways to qualify in the road bike event. One way is to join the ACC in Uzbekistan. But only the winners and the podium finishers get outright slots. The next is to get as much points as they can by joining the races here in the Philippines,” said Team 7-Eleven Roadbike Philippines sports director Ric Rodriguez.
Joining Felipe in the LBC-Ronda Pilipinas 2019 are Rustom Lim, Arjay Peralta, Dominic Perez, George Oconer and Irish Valenzuela.
The other members of the squad are Galedo, Nilo Valdez, Bonijoe Martin, Marvin Corpuz, Warren Bordeos and Japanese rider Kaneko Daisuke.
Rodriguez added that they have lined up a series of races for the team to join until the October 2019 first cutoff.