AN unassuming Rex Luis Krog bagged the Men Junior silver medal of road race in the Asian Cycling Championships yesterday (Saturday) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar—booking what could yet be the biggest accomplishment of his budding career.
Krog, who will turn 18 in May 14, clocked two hours, 32 minutes and 49 seconds and finished 11 seconds behind breakaway partners Taisei Hino of Japan and (2:32:38) and 12 seconds ahead of Wachirawit Saenkhamwong (2:33:01) to snatch the country’s first Asian championships medal after Rustom Lim’s bronze also of road race in 2011 in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
The start list consisted of 43 of the most promising cyclists in the continent with Krog and his coach, Ednalyn Calitis Hualda, proving that cycling, among others, is not a battle of brute strength and stamina, but also more of a scientific approach suited to the rider and the route.
A natural climber in the making, Krog, who traces his roots to cycling hotbed Nueva Ecija and now resides in Caloocan, was instructed to shift to a heavier gear—a strategy that allowed the team sent by the PhilCycling headed by Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino to end a seven-year medal drought in the continental championships.
“The instruction was for Luis [Krog] to shift to a higher gear, a strategy we mapped on the eve of the race,” Hualda said. “And the second was for him to stay with the pack and make a final push in the last five kilometers.”
Krog did just that and with Hino and Saenkhamwong initiating a three-man breakaway in the final 5 kms, the Filipino avoided a bunch finish where he will be disadvantaged against the mostly sprinters in the race that featured riders aged 17 and 18.
“Sinunod ko lang ho ang game plan,” said Krog, one of the young riders of Team Go For Gold, said. “Sumabay ako sa grupo at medyo nagkaroon din ako ng duda na ma-sustain ko ang laro ko. Pero sa huli, binuhos ko na lahat.”