From fan to champ
BAGUIO—With dogged determination in conquering a truly daunting task, El Joshua Cariño changed his stars in the Le Tour de Filipinas Wednesday.
From fan to champion in four years, that’s what Cariño is now after finishing a fighting third in the punishing 154.65-kilometer final grind from Lingayen in Pangasinan to this scenic summer capital as the 25-year-old became just the third Filipino to rule the annual cycling spectacle.
“I still can’t believe it,” Cariño said in Filipino after accumulating a time of 12 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds for the three-stage race and beating lap winner Eritrean Metkel Eyob by 40 seconds for the individual title.
Eyob, of Terengganu Cycling Team, ruled the lap in 4:05:52 and had a chance at stealing the win with Cariño checking in a shade over two minutes behind.
“I used to watch the cyclists at Kennon (Road) back in 2014 when (Mark) Galedo won,” Cariño said after joining Galedo and Baler Ravina, the 2012 champion, as the only locals to win in nine editions of this tour. “Today, I was the one they (other cyclists) were watching. It’s unbelievable.”
It was in Kennon, at the famed Lion’s Head, where Cariño made his move, giving it all he had in the final eight kilometers to deny Eyob and lead Navy’s domination in the team event.
“When I got to the Lion’s Head, I felt the pressure and I didn’t want to disappoint the Filipinos who were watching and supporting. So this win is really for all of us,” Cariño said.
Navy teammate Ronald Oranza wound up third overall at 12:27:49, with dethroned champion Jan Paul Morales settling for fourth another 40 seconds back.
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