Politics

VSCT turning Philippines into an international cycling powerhouse

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THE VICTORIA SPORTS PRO CYCLING TEAM is presented before the media and the public during its launch Saturday at the Victoria Sports Tower in Quezon City. From left: Jay Oconer, Jerry Aquino, Marcio Barbosa, Pedro Paulinho, Andrei Cardoso, Jose Mendes, Daniel Carino, Pako Ochoa, Ean Cajucom, Luis Krog, Kelvin Mendoza, Micael Isidoro (Sports Director), Jobert Catina (Rider Care and Mechanic) and Rayzon Galdonez (Asst. Sports Director). — PHILSTAR FILE PHOTO

VICTORIA Sports Cycling Team (VSCT) has finally introduced itself as the country’s newest king of the road, ready to fly the flag higher in major international races and further elevate the local cycling scene.

Composed of a mix of seasoned and young home bets with reinforcements from Portugal, the 11-man VSCT pro team hit the road running over the weekend — starting with the official team launch at the Victoria Sports Tower and community ride in Quezon Memorial Circle.

“What we built today is a combination of young Filipino and experienced Portuguese talents. We have a good chance of not only getting in the Top 5 or Top 10 but the top spot in international races,” said leader Pako Ochoa of the VSCT owned by the New San Jose Builders, Inc.

Joining him in the stacked team are compatriots Jhay Oconer, Kelvin Mendoza, Luis Krog, Ean Cajucom, Daniel Cariño and the veteran Jerry Aquino with Portuguese stalwarts Márcio Barbosa, Pedro Paulinho, José Mendes and André Cardoso, who boast a stacked resume highlighted by a bevy of stints in European world tour races.

Another Portuguese Micael Isidoro, a world pro cyclist himself, is at the helm as the sports director with Atty. Franco Lacandalo (Team Representative), Jobert Catina (Rider Care and Mechanic) and Rayzon Galdonez (Assistant Sports Director) serving as Filipino officials.

VSCT has set its sights on conquering roads overseas starting with a planned stint in Dubai this month followed by races in Portugal, Taiwan, Japan and Malaysia, all sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

But more than that, VSCT with the backing of San Miguel Corp., Banco De Oro, SM, Grab Philippines, and Kevin Wong, is up for a mountainous challenge of turning the Philippines to a cycling powerhouse.

“One of our main goals is to elevate Philippine cycling. We want to bring in new technology and knowledge from other countries. We’re trying to push the limit of our athletes, that will eventually push the standard of Philippine cycling,” added Mr. Ochoa.

VSCT is also backed by Gruppo Innovare Corp.-Specialized Philippines, Neo Zigma Cycle Corp.-Shimano and PRO, Cofides Competição, Cebu Pacific, Rudy Project, Manuel L. Quezon University, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, VS Hotel, and Schroeder’s Deli. — John Bryan Ulanday