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Cariño’s Le Tour win is a good sign – Rivas

Philippine Navy- Standard Insurance rider El Joshua Cariño carries up his bicycle in celebration after finishing first on the Stage 3 of Le Tour De Filipinas 2018, yesterday at Lingayen, Pangasinan. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

Philippine Navy- Standard Insurance rider El Joshua Cariño carries up his bicycle in celebration after finishing first on the Stage 3 of Le Tour De Filipinas 2018, yesterday at Lingayen, Pangasinan. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

By Jerome Lagunzad

BAGUIO CITY — Former tour champion Paquito Rivas believes that Filipino cyclists really have what it takes to hold their ground against their crack foreign counterparts as long as they put in the work early on.

“Yung mga siklista natin, maganda ang ipinakita ngayon kasi naging maaga ang preparasyon nila,” Rivas, 73, told Tempo-Bulletin yesterday, the morning after Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance rider El Joshua Cariño claimed the 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas crown, just the third Pinoy to do so in the Tour’s first nine editions.

“Kayang kaya naman kasi talaga nilang makipagsabayan. Kaya lang, minsan kasi, ‘pag ang Tour hindi sigurado ang date, tayo naaagrabyado kasi hindi napaghahandaan. Pero ngayon, lumaki ang tsansa natin kasi maaga sila nakapag-prepare.”

Still considered by many as the undisputed “Eagle of the Mountain” for winning the 1979 Tour title, Rivas added that the unexpected rise of Cariño, 25, should serve as a clear proof of how the Filipinos have taken that big leap in terms of improvement and confidence in UCI-sanctioned races.

And he is confident that the breakthrough victory of the Mangaldan, Pangasinan native, who is related to former Tour champions Ruben and Samson Cariño, could be just his first of many moving forward.

“Naniniwala ako na kaya niya (umulit). ‘Yung mag Carino na pinaggalingan niya, malalakas rin ‘yun noon. Tapos natuturuan pa siya, kaya tingin ko may laban,” said Rivas, who’s now serving as the race manager of the annual road race co-presented Air21, Cignal and Cargohaus Inc.

“Si Joshua hindi natin masyado in-expect na lalabas. Bigla ‘yung pagpapakitang gilas niya dito sa Tour ngayon. Kaya nagulat rin ako. Kaya lang yung pinanggalingan niya, malalakas rin naman. Siguro, nakatulong ‘yun tapos natuturuan pa siya ng maayos.”

Aside from Cariño who took the Best Sprinter honors, his younger brother, Daniel Ven, 19, of 7-Eleven Cliqq RoadBike PH, earned a fair share of the limelight as the Best Young Rider while his fellow Navymen underscored their dominance by wresting the team classifications title.

Their impressive results should serve as a timely reminder of how early preparations coupled with a sustained support coming from their sponsors can work wonders, added Rivas.

“Iba rin kasing motivation sa isang siklista ‘yung mayroon kayong matibay na sponsor. Siyempre gaganahan ka talaga makipag-karera nu’n,” he said. “Tapos sa ating mga Pinoy, dapat kahit malayo pa ang laban, nagpi-prepare ka na paunti unti.

“Hindi ka ‘yung titigil kasi mawawala sa’yo yung resistensya mo ‘pag pabago-bago ang ginagawa mo, lalo na ‘pag tumaba ka. Mas maganda kahit walang laban, sasakay ka pa rin para tuluy-tuloy lang. Tapos iku-kundisyon mo na lang ‘pag malapit na ang laban.”

Meanwhile, Navymen coach Reinhard Gorrantes feels the immense success enjoyed by his wards should give their fans and foes alike a crystal-clear view that they can really make a strong showing in the international level.

“Kaya din pala namin manalo sa mga UCI race,” he said, relishing his team’s most impressive win so far. “Hindi naman namin tinitignan na kalaban namin ang kappa Pinoy. Ang sa amin, we just do the best that we can. Pinag-i-ensayuhan naman kasi talaga namin at pinaghihirapan sa karera mismo.”

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