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Phl cyclists’ hard work paying off


SIEM REAP, Cambodia — It was way below excellent but the two bronze medals won in men’s road race at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games showed Philippine cycling is making baby steps back to the top of the podium.

“It’s an improvement,” said Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who also heads the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines.

“They’re little yet significant accomplishments in a cycling discipline that’s never easy at all.”

Reforms in PhilCycling’s road organization in which the coaching staff and national team composition were revamped in February started to bear fruit.

Ronald Oranza clinched both bronze medals in criterium and road race where riders from four of the six participating countries partaking of the medals — Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam — won a gold each in both.

“Hard work and focus, and more importantly, it’s the motivation that the riders projected from their selection to the national team in February to the month-long training camp in April,” said Reinhard Gorantes, who’s joined in the road coaching staff by Virgilio Espiritu, Alfie Catalan, Marita Lucas and Gerald Valdez.

The cycling competitions ended Saturday with Vietnam’s Thi That Nguyen winning the women’s road race — a 100.40-kilometer four-lap ride over a 25.10-km loop.

The race was a bore with 20 of the 30 starters riding as a bunch from start to finish. Thailand’s Jutatip Maneephan clinched silver and Malaysia’s Nur Aisyah Zubir bagged bronze with the same clocking as Nguyen.

Maura de los Reyes was the best-placed Filipina at ninth, followed by 2019 gold and silver medalist Jermyn Prado and Avegail Rombaon at 11th and 12th places, Mathilda Krog at No. 15 and Kate Yasmin Velasco at No. 17. They all had the same time as the gold medalist.

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