Joven to miss 5-leg LBC Ronda with knee injury
Army Bicycology will race minus its team leader Cris Joven when it sees action in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2019 slated Feb. 8-12 from Iloilo to Guimaras to Roxas City and Antique.
Joven, 31, injured his right knee after he spilled during training Saturday in Cavite, forcing him out of the Army team in the annual, UCI-sanctioned event, which stakes qualifying points to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Joven would have been a vital cog for the Armymen as he is one of the local cyclists to watch, having finished third in this same race two years ago.
“I was training alone when I suffered the accident,” Joven told The STAR Saturday night in Filipino. “It’s heartbreaking for me because I was really looking forward and preparing hard to race in Ronda before this accident happened.”
Warren Bordeos will take over Joven’s spot while another veteran and former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Alfie Catalan was appointed team captain in lieu of their fallen leader.
Army Bicycology is one of seven local teams battling an elite field of international squads in the five-stage race.
The other six Phl-based squads are Navy-Standard Insurance, Go for Gold, 7Eleven Cliqq-Air21 by Roadbike Phls, Team Franzia, Team Tarlac and Bike Xtreme.
They will battle a strong international group consisting of Matrix Powertag Japan, Nex Cycling, Korail Team Korea, PGN Road Cycling Team, Sri Lanka Navy Cycle Team, Customs Cycling Indonesia, Terengganu Cycling Team and Cambodia Cycling Team.
LBC Ronda Pilipinas executive project director Moe Chulani said their focus is to help the country qualify a road cyclist to the Olympics after Norberto Oconer made it to the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Games.
“LBC Ronda Pilipinas was first held with an end goal of sending a Filipino cyclist to the Olympics and this is its way of helping the country realize that dream,” said Chulani.
The race comes off the wraps with the 197.6-kilometer Iloilo-Iloilo Stage One on Feb. 8 and will continue with the 101.8km Guimaras-Guimaras Stage Two the next day.
It will go back to Iloilo for the 179.4km Iloilo-Roxas City Stage Three on Feb. 10 followed by the 146.9km Roxas-Roxas Stage Four on Feb. 11.
It will end with the 148.9km RoxasAntique Stage Five on Feb. 12.
The whole delegation will then proceed to island paradise Boracay for the awarding ceremony.