ROADBIKE Philippines 7-11 reinforced its status as the top cycling team in the country by ruling the 646.4-kilometer, five-stage Tour of Borneo in Brunei Darussalam.
The team supported by 7-11 big boss Vic Paterno accumulated the fastest clocking of 49 hours, 11 minutes and 41 seconds - a good 18 minutes and 37 seconds ahead of closest pursuer Pegasus Continental squad in the continental race that drew 11 teams.
Three-time Philippine champion John Mark Galedo also placed third in the overall individual classifications behind champion Peter Pruus of Estonia and Hari Fitrianto of Indonesia.
Teammates Marcelo Felipe (6th) and Boots Ryan Cayubit (8th) also placed in the Top 10 of the general classifications while former Le Tour champion Baler Ravina finished 12th overall.
Team patron Bong Sual expressed elation over the performance of his riders, saying this is their first step toward achieving the immediate goal of producing the top Southeast Asian rider in the future.
“First step na ito, if you notice, second best Asian rider na si John Mark behind Fitirianto, hopefully one day, maging dominante na tayo sa Southeast Asia and hopefully Asia one day,” said Sual.
Sual also lauded the full support given the team by 7-11 big boss Paterno, who even provided their seven riders with state-of-the-art bicycles and gadgets.
The 7-11 riders are set to fly to Jalaja, Indonesia in the first week of December for another 2.2 race, which will give Olympic qualifying points to the top performers.
“Yan ang target natin, we will help John Mark get the needed points para maka-qualify sa Rio de Janeiro Olympics. And it’s a tough task pero kaya natin,” he said while thanking sponsors Philippine Airlines, Del Monte, Pocari Sweat and Gatorade.
Other members of the Roadbike Philippines team are Doninic Perez (29th) and Rey Martin (33rd).