By NIKOLE JAVIER
Victoria Sports Cycling Team (VSCT) will hit the road in its first continental tournament in Dubai next week.
The 11-member team will be composed of Filipino bikers Jhay Oconer, Marcio Barbosa, Pedro Paulinho, Ean Cajucom, Luis Krog, Kelvin Mendoza, Daniel Cariño, Jerry Aquino Jr., together with two World Tour riders, Portuguese André Cardoso and Jose Mendez.
“Another continental team for the Philippines. It was our dream 15 years ago. It’s our dream to have something like this,” said PhilCycling chief Bambol Tolentino, who is also the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President.
“Ngayon nabawasan na ‘yong dream natin dahil andito na ‘yong Victoria Sports. Hopefully, our dream na mayroong Filipino team na makalaro ng major tournament like Germany, Swiss Tour, and of course, the grand tour: Le Tour de France. Maybe this is the time,” he added.
The country’s newest professional cycling team will also be competing in the UAE tour followed by some Asian tours.
Tolentino, though, is hoping that the VSCT can participate in some European tilts within the year to earn some points from the Philippines and put the country at the center stage of global cycling.
“Let’s have a bike off. Laban ng national team saka sila . So, tingnan natin kung gano’n kalakas,” said Tolentino.
“Pag pinasok na silang Philippines, they will earn points for the country. Local games, they will be busy with the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games. So, unahin muna natin ‘yon. We need them for the tune up game. We need them before pagbalik nila sa mga tours nila before May,” he added.
According to Talentino, the promising talent that the team has shown just after a week of training together could be worth an appearance in major tournaments.
The cycling team led a community ride in Quezon Memorial Circle on Sunday, Jan. 22 following its launch a day prior.