MANILA, Philippines - LBC Express, Inc. president Fernando Araneta and MVP Sports Foundation head Manny V. Pangilinan have joined hands in forming a continental cycling team for international competitions sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
Araneta made the announcement after its under-23 team, to be named LBC-MVPSF Cycling Pilipinas, was given by the UCI, the highest governing body of the sport, a continental status to represent the Phl in international meets.
â€œWe are happy to announce that team LBC-MVPSF Pilipinas has secured its UCI continental status to represent the Phl in UCI-sanctioned events,â€ said Araneta in a press statement circulated yesterday.
â€œThe challenge is to prove that we belong with the best in Asia and win in this region before we move on to the world stage,â€ he added.
Araneta added that their short-term goal is bring home medals in foreign events like the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, Olympics and eventually the Tour de France, the biggest cycling spectacle in the world.
â€œAchieving our goal of winning medals for the country and putting the first Filipino in the Tour de France is our foremost goal,â€ said Araneta.
â€œThrough Ronda Pilipinas, we have developed a cycling program for the Phl and the Filipino cyclists and we have seen the best Filipino riders perform. And itâ€™s time to show our worth internationally.
â€œAs Ronda Pilipinas goes international in 2014, our cyclists can showcase what we can do and put the Phl in the world cycling map,â€ he added.
The squad, under American coach Chris Allison and spearheaded by Ronda Pilipinas 2013 third placer Ronald Oranza, includes Rustom Lim, El Joshua Carino, Jemico Brioso, Elmer Navarro, Denver Casayuran, Francis Ramos and John Renee Mier, all aged 23 years old and below.
Allison, whose team finished a solid third overall in the recent Ronda against a field that includes older and more seasoned foes, said he hopes to discover new talents and train them with the team.
â€œWe are also keeping an eye on other young riders who did very well in this past 2013 Ronda Pilipinas and look to give them an opportunity to join the team soon,â€ said Allison.
The LBC-MVPSF Pilipinas are expected to plunge into action in the Jelajah Malaysia race, Tour of Thailand, Tour of East Java in Indonesia and Tour of Brunei as well as elite races in Europe and the upcoming Asian Cycling Championships in India.
â€œGiven the good results in Ronda, the team will look to build on this success as we represent the Philippines in top international racing. Cycling is a sport that Filipinos can naturally excel at on the world stage and these young athletes are proving that we are headed in the right direction,â€ he added.