Two Filipino riders will vie in the downhill event of cycling’s mountain bike event on Monday, but they may end up using only one bike.
This, after the Trek mountain bikes of John Derick Farr and Lea Denise Belgira – and that of women’s cross country top bet Ariana Thea Patrice Dormitorio – remained in transit because of the mess at the NAIA caused by a Xiamen Airways Boeing plane that belly-landed last Friday.
“If worse comes to worst, Jerich could be borrowing Lea’s bicycle for the downhill race tomorrow [Monday],” Boying Rodriguez, the PhilCycling’s MTM commission chairman, said.
The Travel Department of the Philippine Sports Commission has been burning the wires since Saturday afternoon to determine the whereabouts of the bicycles.
Representatives from Philippine Airlines told PSC and Philippine Olympic Committee officials that they commissioned Singapore Airlines to bring the bikes to Jakarta.
But as of late Sunday afternoon, nothing was certain, as not only the bicycles were off-loaded from PAL flights, but also the luggage of several members of the Philippine delegation to the Games.
Farr is five-foot-two, while Belgira is a shade shorter.
“Good thing is, Derrick and Lea are almost of the same height and minor adjustments will be made with their bikes,” Rodriguez said.
The Filipino riders missed Sunday’s practice ride at the MTB courses in Subang, located 126 kilometers west of Jakarta. Even then, Rodriguez said the host Indonesians have been unaccommodating of all participants in the off-road discipline of cycling.
“The hosts have the full home-court advantage,” Rodriguez said.
“While the foreign participants were only allowed to do the compulsory walk of the course [last Saturday], their riders have the luxury of riding it everyday,” he added, “but that’s the advantage of being the host.”
Sunday’s practice ride was also only for three hours, according to the chairman.
The seeding run for the downhill events is set at 9:00am, while the final will be at 1:00 pm.
Dormitorio, the Asian champion, will compete in the cross country on Tuesday.