The 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines composed of experienced Spanish rider Edgar Nohales Nieto, Jesse James Ewart, Craig Evers, Josh Berry and Dominic Perez will compete in the New Zealand Cycling Classic slated on January 22 to 26 in New Zealand.
“We don’t expect to win in those races but we want the opportunity to gauge [the ability of]our Filipino riders against the best in the world and to showcase what Filipino cycling is all about,” said team manager Ric Rodriguez in an interview.
The UCI-sanctioned (International Cycling Union) 2.2 seven-stage rage in the Wellington region started in 1988.
Rodriguez sees a tough battle against European powerhouse Italy but is optimistic that the experience they will gain in the tournament will boost their chances of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“It is rare chance for us and we know that it will bring excitement to the entire Philippine cycling community and to our national federation (PhilCycling),” he added.
After the New Zealand tilt, the team will see action in the by invitation-only Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia scheduled on February 1 to 5 in Melbourne.
Rodriguez said that they would be up against three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and his Team Sky. Only 16 teams will compete in the four-circuit race.
“The team is really excited with this development. It is seldom that you get invitations in these races,” he said.