Team Philippines was denied the podium in the 10th and final stage of the 13th Biwase Cup on Friday, Mar. 17, but the Filipinas riders had their spurs sharpened ahead of their campaign in the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games in May.
All five members of the national women’s team—Avegail Rombaon, Mhay Ann Linda, Marianne Dacumos, Mathilda Krog and Kate Yasmin Velasco—crossed with the big bunch a minute behind stage winner Lam Thi Kim Ngan of the host country, who ruled the 120-km final stage in two hours and 44 minutes.
The two other Filipinas—former national riders Maura de los Reyes and Jelsie Sabado who rode for the Mixed Team—were also in that big group in Friday’s stage marred by a multiple-cyclist crash, including Velasco.
But Velasco—according to the coaching staff composed of Alfie Catalan, Marita Lucas and Joey de los Reyes—was up and about after the crash. She, however, would undergo tests for concussion when the team flies back home Saturday.
Overall, Team Philippines did a fine job in the race organized by the Vietnam Cycling Federation (VCF) with Velasco, Krog, de los Reyes and even international first-timer figuring in the intermediate sprints.
Team Philippines—fielded in the race by the PhilCycling in preparation for the Cambodia SEA Games and supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission, Tagaytay City, MVP Sports Foundation, Standard Insurance, Excellent Noodles and 7-Eleven—wound up seventh among 18 teams in the team general classification topped by home squad Tuyen Biwase-Binh Durong
The Filipinas, who’ll now be racing more often overseas as part of the PhilCycling’s rejuvenated women’s program, also made their presence felt as a team by finishing third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 9.
Batriya Chaniporn maintained her 23-second over fellow Thai Somrat Phetdarin and 1:05 over Vietnamese Bui Thi Quynh to win individual honors.
After the dust cleared from 10 days of cycling, Dacumos finished at 16th place, De los Reyes at 26th, Rombaon 30th, Sabado 36th and Linda 55th in the general classification.
Velasco dropped to No. 38 from No. 25 because of the crash.
Krog, meanwhile, was hailed Miss Beauty of Biwase 2023—a side event of the race the VCF holds annually to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Next up for the team and their counterparts in the men’s category is a two-week training camp ahead of the Cambodia Games at the Subic Freeport Zone.
A similar training camp for the mountain bike squad will also be conducted in Tagaytay City.