YOUNG Filipino rider Marc Ryan Mendoza Lago struggled in freezing conditions in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, finishing fifth in the Men’s Junior Individual Time Trial event of the Asian Cycling Championships.
Son of former Asian Duathlon king Mark Ryan "Bad Boy" Mendoza, Lago clocked 41 mins 37.45 seconds in the 30 kilometer race against the clock, a minute and 48 seconds behind winner Maxim Popuhayev of Kazakhstan.
Lago, the under-17 champion of the Scratch It National Juniors Championships last year, had a hard time riding in -9 (C) temperature and heavy rain in the Uzbek capital.
“Grabe ang lamig dito. Ok lang sana yung lamig kasi naghanda kami, kaso umuulan pa. Talagang di kaya ng katawan ng mga bata. Remember, mga minor pa rin yan,” said Go for Gold coach Edz Hualda.
“Hindi nga mapindot nung mga bata yung preno at pedal sa sobrang lamig,” she added, noting that the conditions were far tougher than when they arrived a week before the competitions.
“Nung dumating kami manageable yung lamig, we trained for that. But yung malamig na uulan pa, hindi kinaya ng mga bata na sanay sa tropical climate gaya sa atin,” added Hualda.
Thailand’s Tullatorn Sosalam placed second (27.26 seconds adrift), while Behzodbek Rakhimbaev finished third.
Daniel Ven Carino was far from the winners in the under-23 ITT ruled by Kazakhstan’s Yevgeniy Fedorov with a clocking of 49 minutes and 46.28 seconds.
Carino placed 15th after experiencing hypothermia during the 48-kilometer race.
“Kulay talong na si Daniel when he crossed the finish line. It was punishing for our riders especially that our boys are used to a 35-degree celcius weather. Para kasi kami naka ref dito,” said Hualda.
“But we will give it a fight. We still have more events to play and we’re hoping to slowly acclimatize,” she added.
Sports patron and Go for Gold vice president for marketing Jeremy Go was not happy with the result, but says he can’t blame the riders due to the weather condition.
“Hindi rin kasi sanay sa ganung weather yung mga bata natin. But I am still optimistic,” said Go, who also supports 10 other sporting disciplines under his Go for Gold program.