Monday, June 21, 2010

POC intervenes to form competitive RP cycling team for Asian Games

MANILA, June 18 – The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has intervened to the two warring factions in the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (Philcycling) in an effort to come up with a formidable national team to the coming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
Lawyer and two-time tour of Luzon champion Cornelio Padilla, secretary general of Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino's faction and his counterpart in the Mikee Romero-side, Armando Bautista informed the media during the Friday's SCOOP sa Kamayan session that the POC initiated move to unite the two groups.
"That's why we are thankful to the POC in initiating this joint tryouts because that opened the avenue for us to at least agree on a common goal, that is to form the strongest possible team for the Asiad," Bautista said in the weekly sports session at the Kamayan restaurant-Padre Faura.
"Very possible. It's a good start," Padilla, the 1966 and 1967 Tour champion and the only Filipino rider to finish an Olympic Games road race, a feat he accomplished in Tokyo in 1964 before turning professional.
It was POC media bureau chief Joey Romasanta who proposed the tryouts which the two groups adopted and hopefully, would create avenue to end a three-year animosity within the local cycling.
Such leadership imbroglio has resulted in several embarrassment to the country in the international arena, the last one during last year's Southeast Asian Games in Laos where the entire national team was barred from participation due to the riders' lack of licenses from the governing Union cyclist Internationale.
Tolentino's group happens to be the one recognized by the International Cycling Union (UCI), a fact the POC refused to abide by recognizing instead the group of Romero despite the POC charter itself mandating that only national sports associations recognized by its International Sports Federation should qualify to be a member of the POC family.
As agreed upon during a mediation meeting held Tuesday between the two factions and POC mediator Moying Martelino, the series of tryouts starts July 9 and 10 where the road events – mass start and individual time trial – will be held at the Subic Bay circuit.
This will be followed by the mountain bike events consisting of downhill and cross country races on July 11.
Track events consisting of the 1-km ITT, 4-km individual pursuit, Olympic sprint for men and women and kerin and 50-km. point race for men will be held July 12 and 13 at the dilapidated Amoranto Velodrome in Quezon City.
Padilla said the five-day tryouts needs a P900,000 funding which will come from either the POC or the Philippine Sports Commission.
"The best riders that will emerge from the tryouts, regardless of what factions they belong will represent the country in the Asian Games this November (in Guangzhou, China)," Padilla and Bautista assured.
Padilla though said competing in the Asian Games will be tough for the Filipino riders who will be up against their counterparts from the former USSR, considered as among the best in the world having the experience of competing in the Tour de France. (PNA)

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