HIS racing heroes were there pedaling with the pack, minutes behind, as El Joshua Carino crossed the finish line in Baguio City to claim the Le Tour de Filipinas title.
It was a sweet win for the 25-year-old Navy-Standard rider, clinching the crown in a UCI-sanctioned international event by beating a field that included 2014 Le Tour champion Mark Galedo and local stage race titlist Jan Paul Morales.
“Sila Mark Galedo and yung teammate ko, si Jan Paul Morales, yun ang naging inspiration ko. Sabi ko gusto ko na rin mag champion,” said El Carino.
“Hinintay ko lang rin ang pagkakataon na’to. Dati sila yung champion, siguro ito na yung binigay sa amin ni Lord na maging champion,” he added.
Even after being confirmed as the newest tour champion, Carino is still in disbelief with his conquest of the race co-presented by Air 21, Cignal and Cargo Haus, saying that it wasn’t too long ago when he was just a mere spectator.
He earned approximately P169,000 through the four stages.
“Napakasarap, parang hindi ako ito, hindi ako makapaniwala na ako talaga yung nanalo,” Carino said.
“Dati nanonood lang ako sa mga foreigners, sa mga pinoy doon sa Kennon. Ngayon ako na yung pinapanood ng mga siklista.”
It was also a huge win for Navy, claiming the team title with Ronald Oranza and Morales finishing in third and fourth spots overall.
Galedo, riding for 7-Eleven, placed sixth.
“Ang plano namin is yung team. Andun naman na hawak na namin yung overall, so ang sabi namin sa isa’t isa, let’s give it our best,” Carino added.
“Kung hindi naman makuha yung overall, kuha pa rin yung team title. Ngayon, binigyan kami ng Diyos ng pagkakataon na makuha yung team at yung overall.”