Road events to resume next year
Filipino cyclists will hit the road competitively early next year both in local and international races, an assurance given by no less than newly elected Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham “Bambol’’ Tolentino after Europe has sanctioned the return of road races, which the Philippines can also do.
“Cycling is among the sports allowed to resume early,” Tolentino, president of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines, said. “They have been holding races in Europe already.’’
From among the major road races locally, only LBC Ronda Pilipinas was able to pedal on the trail with George Oconer winning the general classification on March 4, less than two weeks before a series of lockdowns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic put everything in the world in disarray.
Le Tour de Filipinas, a race sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale, was canceled, as well as several more races on schedule for the year.
“We can host the races again next year. I don’t see any issues with cycling since it is being played outdoors and moves constantly from point to point,’’ said Tolentino.
Tolentino, however, raised the concern on the availability of the vaccine for COVID-19, which the national cyclists would need to secure to compete overseas.
“It will become a passport the moment you travel to other countries because you might need a certification that you are already vaccinated,’’ said Tolentino. “Other countries might have strict protocols and might require a certificate.’’
The POC chief said Olympic qualification tournaments will begin early next year with Philippine ace Ariana Dormitorio, a highly ranked Asian in mountain bike, seeking a spot in the Tokyo Summer Games.
Tolentino said the top four riders in Asia will qualify for the Olympics with Dormitorio currently running fourth after riders from Japan, China and Iran. INQ
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