LOCAL riders will be pitted against the region’s best when the 2015 Asean Cup Mountain Bike Series unfurls this weekend in Danao City, regarded as the MTB Capital of the Philippines.
The January 23-24 event, staged over a 4.2-kilometer cross country course and a two-km downhill course where riders will be flagged off from a 284-meter high ramp. Both are International Cycling Union (UCI)-standard cross country and downhill courses
The event is organized by UCI MTB International Commissaire and PhilCycling technical commission head Oscar 'Boying' Rodriguez.
Heading the Philippine campaign in the Elite category are national team members Eleazar Barba (downhill), Jigo Mendoza (cross country), John Mier (cross country), Ariana Dormitorio (cross country-women), and Avigail Rumbao (cross country-women) and former nationals Eboy Quiñones, Alvin Benosa and Niño Surban.
A 10-member team from Hong Kong is also vying in the race, even if the Chinese territory is not an Asean member. Its cyclists are joining the Elite category to earn UCI points.
China and Malaysia are sending their junior cross country riders who will challenge the Philippines’ Jake Aldrin Rivera, fifth-placer in last year’s Asian MTB Junior Championships in Lubuk Linggao, Indonesia.
Filipino Jerich Farr, the 2014 Asian MTB Championships bronze medalist, is expected to face stiff opposition from Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian cyclists in the event presented by Air21, Greenhills Farms, Aduna, AppleOne Banawa Heights, Specialized and Rudy Project.
After the Danao City leg, the ASEAN MTB Cup will proceed to Indonesia in April for the second leg, Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia for the third leg and in Timor Leste in October for the final leg.