Nino Surban and Ariana Dormitorio raced to expected victories and displayed strong potentials as competitive cycling emphatically returned over the weekend in the PhilCycling National Trials for MTB in Danao City.
Surban, men’s cross-country silver medalist in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, conquered the six-lap highly-technical 3-km track atop the challenging hills of Sitio Bugho in Barangay Sandayong Sur. He won the Men Elite gold medal in one hour, 22 minutes, and 11.21 seconds.
Jericho Rivera crossed the uphill finish some two and a half minutes after Surban to settle for the silver medal. Meanwhile, Mark Louwel Valderama was more than a minute back for the bronze medal.
Dormitorio was as dominant in the women’s race — a shorter five-loop ride also over a 3-km loop. She won the gold medal in 1:29:50.75.
Nicole Quinones, daughter of Vietnam 2003 Men’s MTB gold medalist Eusebio Quinones, raced her first Women’s Elite race. She bagged the silver medal with a 1:42:12.89 clocking. On the other hand, Pamela Jane Ruiz clinched bronze in 1:48:25.24.
“Cycling is back,” PhilCycling head Rep. Bambol Tolentino, also the Philippine Olympic Committee president, said.
“It’s more than a year since we have an official and this competition in Danao City marks our sport’s return.”
The local government of Danao City, the Regional Task Force, and the Department of Health all enforced the proper health and safety protocols throughout the event.
“The results showed our cyclists stayed in competitive form even during the pandemic. Everyone wanted to return to action,” said Boying Rodriguez, PhilCycling vice-chairman and MTB commission head. He also chairs the Danao City Sports Commission.
Rodriguez and former congressman Ramon “Red” Durano Durano awarded the medals to the winners.
The Ronda Pilipinas was the last race before the pandemic struck in March 2020.
Young cyclists also showed potentials to be next in line as national team members.
Gart Gaerlan topped the Men’s Junior race (four laps, 12.4 kms) in 1:03.27.73; followed by Marvin Dave Cerilo (2:07.32 behind) and another Quinones, Matthew Simon (6:08.12 behind).
Athena Marie Magpantay, the Batang Pinoy champion in Puerto Princesa in 2018, remained in top form and ruled the Women’s Junior category in 1:11:11.44. Jasmin Philsen Babol (1:20:26.26), and Alianah Therese Velasco (1:24:03:09) completed the podium.
The age group winners were Julius Raphael Cabatingin (11-12), Jhon Andry Labuga (13-14), and again Gaerlan (15-16) in the boys class and Magpantay (15-16) in the girls’ race.
Next up on the PhilCycling calendar is the National Trials For Road on July 9 and 10 in Clark Pampanga.