Aspiring national mountain bike (MTB) riders will get a chance to be included in the pool when the three-day 2017 Philippine MTB National Championships and Asian Invitational kicks off on Friday at the Danasan Eco Adventure Park in Danao City, Cebu.
“This is one of the qualifying tournaments for them to become a national team member, and because this race is a national championship, it has a big impact on selecting its new members,” said PhilCycling vice-president Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez Jr. in a phone interview on Wednesday.
According to Rodriguez, they are in need of three downhill riders and three cross-country riders in the national pool. Currently, the national team has only two male cross-country riders and one female and two male athletes for downhill.
“Of course, we will evaluate their skill level and we’re looking also to those who will make it on the Top 3 of each race. But like I said, we will also evaluate their performance in other qualifying races they joined,” added Rodriguez.
Among participating teams are Birdland MTB, La Union Adventure Team, Team Ariana-Specialized, Outbreak Adrenaline Water, Ecnal Bike Trail, BMC Philippines, Liv Taiwan, Sandugo, Groundzero, GP Cycling, Prima Cycling, Gensan Bike MOB, and Cycleline Extreme.
Some countries have aired their support in joining the race including Taiwan, and Myanmar. Due to security issues in Mindanao, riders from Singapore have backed out.
Rodriguez noted that the national championship will serve as a prelude for the 24th Asian MTB Championships in 2018 and preparation for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games MTB championships, which the country will be hosting.