Sports Eye

More cycling races in Pangasinan this year

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

NATIONAL scribes and cycling buffs outside our province keep wondering how and why our province is able to  continue to produce national champions with international caliber in cycling,. I volunteer four reasons.

  1. Pangasinan is the pioneer in this two-wheeled event started by Bayambang-born, the late Atty. Geruncio Lacuesta, considered as the father of Philippine cycling. Lacuesta organized the first multi-stage bicycle road race in the country in 1955 called Tour of Luzon and lasted till 1977. That iconic race nine Pangasinan Tour champions during Lacauesta’s 22 years of organization.
  2. Cycling in the province’s favorite sport after basketball having already produce 21 Tour champions, as of last year, with countless medals in Asia and Southeast Asia cycling competitions.
  3. Unlike the other provinces, Pangasinan has the perfect terrain to train our local riders because of its accessibility to the mountains of Baguio City via the Kennon and Naguilian roads and Marcos highway to sharpen their wares. I said it before and I’ll say it again that a cyclist with no mountain climbing prowess will never become a Tour champion.
  4. The conduct of many cycling events that enable young talents to replace our aging pedal-pushers. Note: Last year, two local bets again dominated the two multi-stage races in the country with Ronald Oranza of Villasis winning the 10-day Ronda Pilipinas and Joshua Cariño of Mangaldan ruling the four-day UCI internationally-sanctioned race Le Tour de Filipinas. Many events were backed by present and past provincial officials, among them today is Guv Pogi Espino; former governors Oscar Orbos and Aguedo Agbayani, Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil and ex-DPWH Region1Director Fidel Ginez.  Under my directorship, Orbos (as congressman and governor) sponsored 26 road races, Agbayani did four, Bataoil did five and Ginez did eight. Guv Pogi already did one.

 In the LGU side, the mayors of my town Mangaldan like Macario Ydia, Conchita Golea, the Presto brothers Numeriano and Pedrito, Benigno Gubatan, Tito Sarzaba, Hermino Romero and Berex Abalos sustained the annual town fiesta bikefest called “Werweran ed Mangaldan” from 1974 to 2013. Because of popularity, the yearly road event was considered by scribes as the most prestigious one day bikefest in the country. (Unfortunately, it was discontinued by the current Mangaldan chief executive Bona Parayno since 2014. I don’t know why).

Fortunately, I found a generous person and a cycling fanatic named Alex Billan from Parañaque City. Billan, owner of the internationally known Excellent Noodles, is an active amateur cyclist. He revived the Werweran four years ago and has been doing it since every year but with one difference – the current edition is exclusively being run for master (46-59 years old) and grandmaster (60 years old-and-above) divisions. Yes, the 1997 Werweran executive category champion, Billan, has now sponsored 36 Pangasinan races under my watch and his 37th will be the 42nd Werweran ed Mangaldan 2019. (See related story on this page) Believe me, expect more Pangasinan races under Billan’s Excellent Noodles sponsorship.  See you there. 

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. NAHUM 1: 2

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