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New pro team parades top Portuguese cyclists

The country’s latest professional team — Victoria Sports Cycling Team — is set to parade a pair of top riders from Portugal in a bid to help Filipino athletes come up with a strong performance in major international tournaments.

VCT representative Pako Ochoa said World Tour campaigners Jose Mendes and Andre Cardoso of Portugal will be joining them to add experience, firepower, and energy to their team which is composed of veteran and young riders.

A Union Cycliste International-licensed squad, VCT will be representing the Philippines in various international tourneys this year.

The officers of the VSCT include lawyer Franco Lacandalo (team representative), Jobert Catina (rider care and mechanic), Rayzon Galdonez (assistant sports director) and Micael Isidoro (sports director).

The other members of the team are Jhay Oconer, Kelvin Mendoza, Márcio Barbosa, Luis Krog, Pedro Paulinho, Ochoa, Ean Cajucom, Mendes, Daniel Cariño, Jerry Aquino, and Cardoso.

Ochoa said one of their goals is to “regularly and actively represent the country in major international cycling tournaments in Asia and countries around the world.”

“Ultimately our ambition is to produce a world-class team that will proudly wear the colors of our country and help raise the profile of cycling in the Philippines,” said Ochoa, who represents the team that is accredited by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines and owned by the New San Jose Builders, Inc.

Other backers are BDO, Cebu Pacific, Grab Philippines, and San Miguel Corporation as well as Cofide Competicao, Las Casas de Acuzar, Manuel L. Quezon University, Rudy Project, Shimano and Specialized.

Ochoa explained that tapping world-class athletes “is one of the moves the team has made to help make VSCT internationally competitive.”

This, explained Ochoa, “is a tried and tested strategy that has been used by other teams in the past.”

“If we want to keep up with the best cyclists in the world, we have to train and ride with the best cyclists in the world. These include the likes of Jose (Mendes) and Andre [Cardoso].”

Mendez is a former World Tour Rider for Bora-Hansgrohe and two-time national road champion of Portugal while Cardoso is a former World Tour rider for Trek Segafredo.

Established in 2010, Bora-Hansgrohe is a German UCI World Team cycling team sponsored by BORA, a German manufacturer of extractor hoods and cooktops, and Hansgrohe, a bathroom fittings manufacturer.

Also a UCI World Team cycling team, Trek–Segafredo is licensed in the United States and was founded in 2011. Both teams have competed in top races like the Tour de France.

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