PH junior riders gear up for Tour de DMZ in South Korea | Inquirer Sports

PH junior riders gear up for Tour de DMZ in South Korea

/ 02:38 PM August 30, 2023

Cycling

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MANILA, Philippines—Tapping the finest junior riders in the country, the Go For Gold Cycling Team will carry the national colors in the famed Tour de DMZ International Road Cycling in South Korea.

Laguna’s Kien Ebojo, John Arwin Velasco of Batangas, Cebu’s Samstill Mamites, Nueva Ecija’s John Paul Escubine, Justhene Navaluna and Mac BJ Arellano from Ilocos will race against the best riders in the world their age in the five-stage, 532-kilometer bikathon on the fringes of the Korean border.

Go For Gold is adopting a similar program for these young cyclists following the success of 17-year-old mountain bike (MTB) cyclist John Andre Aguja, who already ruled two international races—the 2023 Thailand Mountain Bike Cup and the 2023 Coupe de Japon MTB Yawatahama in Japan.

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“We have proven that in our MTB teams, where we won several gold medals. We are bringing the same program to road racing and hopefully we can also reap success,” said Go For Gold founder Jeremy Go.

The eight-man Philippine squad left for Ganghwa late Tuesday afternoon, three days before the multi-stage race kicks off Friday.

Aside from winning a number of Union Cycliste Internationale junior MTB races recently, Go For Gold riders consistently finished on the podium in Southeast Asian meets.

The sixth edition of the Tour de DMZ, a Men Junior Nations Cup sanctioned by the UCI, will have the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) as backdrop that serves as the border of the two Koreas.

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The race likewise commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice with the theme “70 years of DMZ, Beyond the Border into the Future.”

“We would like to thank PhilCycling and POC president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino and PhilCycling secretary general Atty. Billy Sumagui for their continuous support to our developmental program,” said Go.

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“We welcome junior riders from all over the Philippines as part of our program because we believe that hidden gems can be found anywhere,” added Go.

A strong advocate of supporting Filipino athletes who have the potential to excel internationally, Go For Gold has also supported athletes in triathlon, sepak takraw, wrestling, dragonboat, skateboarding, chess, basketball, volleyball and wrestling, among others.

Go is confident that the six Filipino junior riders possess the skills and talent in sprints and can conquer grueling climbs.

One of the challenges that Go sees is their ability to acclimatize to the Korean weather at this time, which is around 22-23 degrees Celsius.

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“The weather is like Baguio, so I am hoping it won’t be that much of a problem. Although based on our scouting, it has been raining there. We have three days to prepare though,” said Go.

TAGS: Cycling

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