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UCI chief rallies behind Tolentino, PhilCycling

International Cycling Union president David Lappartient expressed support to the Philippine program as he and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino discussed “anything and everything about cycling” during the Asian Cycling Confederation Congress on Wednesday at The Stones Hotel in Bali, Indonesia.

“We talked, discussed and expounded on anything and everything about cycling that he (Lappartient) highlighted by vowing to support our program,” said Tolentino, who’s attending the first in-person ACC Congress in three years.

Tolentino said Lappartient has fond memories of the Philippines for having been a part of the panel of commissaires during the country’s hosting of the Asian road and track championships at the Amoranto Velodrome and Subic in 1995.

Lappartient agreed to Tolentino’s proposal to send one athlete each in road, BMX and mountain bike to qualifying races for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“The support will cascade to a UCI program through the World Cycling Center Asia headquarters in South Korea,” said Tolentino, the PhilCycling president since 2008.

Tolentino presented in the ACC Congress the country’s first-time hosting of the Asian BMX (Racing and Freestyle) Championships at the UCI-standard Tagaytay City BMX track on 15 and 16 July.

The BMX track in Tagaytay City is the sole UCI-standard track in the country and the first in Asia to have a roof. It hosted the BMX competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019.

Tolentino said Lappartient was in his comfort zone talking about the Philippines.

“It’s something about someone from the UCI or Europe or elsewhere who’s worked with Pat McQuaid, who has adequate knowledge about our country, our hospitality and our people,” Tolentino said.

McQuaid was the former UCI president who, as then head of the UCI Road Commission, spent months in the Philippines in each of the years from 1994 to 1998 setting up the Marlboro Tour as one of the biggest UCI multi-stage races in Asia.

The 1998 Marlboro Tour, however, was to be the fabled race’s last after global restrictions on tobacco products sponsorship of sports events were imposed.

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