RIDERS in the national and continental teams stake their reputation against equally-potent cyclists on a level playing field — the PhilCycling National Championships for Road — which gets going on Friday and Saturday in Subic and Bataan.
At stake is the right to wear the coveted national champion’s jersey in the Men and Women Elite, Under 23 and Junior categories, according to PhilCycling President Abraham 'Bambol' Tolentino.
The national championships highlight the PRU Ride PH 2018, a cycling festival staged annually by Pru Life UK. The event will be graced by Filipino-American Coryn Rivera, one of the world’s best women elite riders who won last year’s Tour of Flanders in Belgium.
“The national champion’s jersey is the most prestigious jersey a cyclist riding for his country would ever want to wear,” Tolentino, also a congressman representing Tagaytay City, said. “We therefore expect a very tough competition among our best cyclists."
Tolentino is expected to grace the races, along with PhilCycling chairman Alberto Lina and secretary general Atty. Billy Sumagui and Pru Life UK senior vice president and chief marketing officer Allan Tumbaga.
The men’s road race on Friday will be on an out-and-back 138.27-km course at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center marked by a treacherous seven-km climb on an average 7 percent gradient atop the Dambana Ng Kagitingan giant cross on Mount Samat.
The women’s event will be staged simultaneously with the men and will cover 96.55 kms of circuit racing inside Subic. Both races will start at 9 a.m.
The individual time trial on Saturday, on the other hand, will test the men on a 30.12-km route and the women on a 21.94-km distance.
The national championships will conclude with the Criterium races on Janaury 21 at McKinley West in Taguig City.
Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Mark John Lexer Galedo and Marella Vania Salamat will lead the field that includes riders from continental team 7-Eleven, club teams led by Standard Insurance-Navy, Go For Gold and Franzia, and cyclists from the Philippine Army.