Cariño, Lago compete in ITT

GAZALKENT, Uzbekistan — Daniel Ven Cariño and Marc Ryan Lago are hoping the weather holds on Wednesday when they see action in the individual time trial (ITT) of the 2019 Asian Cycling Championships for Road Uzbekistan is hosting for the first time.

“I hope the weather holds, especially the temperature,” said Cariño, 21, who is racing in the 40-km Men Under-23 individual time trial at 3:30 p.m. (6:30 p.m. in Manila) on Wednesday.

Lago, 18, will vie in the 30-km Men Junior ITT also on Wednesday but earlier at 1 p.m.

“It’s biting cold,” sighed Team Manager Ednalyn Hualda on Monday during the License Check and Team Managers Meeting at the Pyramida Hotel in Chorvoq.

With the temperature dropping to close to 10 degrees Centigrade and a strong shower making the conditions terrible for the seven Filipinos here backed by Go For Gold and sent by the PhilCycling, Hualda had to improvise.

“Warming oil,” quipped Hualda, referring to a popular brand of baby oil back home that mothers use on babies before they bath them. But problem’s not solved for Hualda because all products sold in Uzbekistan are labeled in Russian and hardly could one find a local who speaks English well enough.

Nevertheless, the Philippine team members vowed to give their all extremely hoping the sun continues to shine as it was on Tuesday during the team time trial for Men and Women Elite and Para Cycling.

“This is the Asian Championships and we’re here to give our all,” said Cariño, the Best Young Rider of last year’s Le Tour de Filipinas.

Because of the cold and rain, the Filipinos only rode 20 kms on Sunday afternoon. On a sunny Monday and the temperature hitting 18 degrees, they did 80 kms, enough to make them sweat a little.

Besides Cariño and Lago, also on the Philippine team are Ismael Gorospe Jr., Joshua Mari Bonifacio and Jerico Lucero in the Men Under 23 and Efren Reyes Jr. (18) and Ean Cajucom (17) in the Men Juniors. They will race in the massed start events on Friday.

The Philippines owns a modest reputation in the Asian Championships with Rustom Lim clinching a bronze medal in 2011 in Nakhon Ratchasima, in Thailand, and Rex Luis Krogg bagging silver in Naypyidaw, Myanmad, last year.

The time trial routes are on a flat stretch of highway that resembles the expressways back home. The roads have been totally closed for the races.