Joven to miss 5-leg LBC Ronda with knee in­jury

The Philippine Star - - SPORTS - By JOEY VIL­LAR

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.

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