SPRINT specialist Jonel Carcueva and junior cycling ace Rex Luis Krog delivered a pair of rousing victories for Go For Gold Philippines in the challenging Tour de Linggarjati.
Carcueva got the needed shot in the arm from his Go For Gold teammates and ruled the men’s elite category of the three-day race held in West Java, Indonesia.
The 24-year-old Cebuano banked on a second-place performance in the road race and made sure his closest rivals won’t be a nuisance in the criterium event after finishing third in the 9.8-kilometer individual time trial to bring home the general classification title.
Matej Drivonec of Slovenia, which topped the 119.60-kilometer road race, placed second in the GC after a mediocre output in the ITT, while Nex CNN teammate Robert Muller of Germany wound up third overall.
“I’m very proud of our team. Even though we are still a young squad and have plenty of things to improve on, they have proven that Filipino cyclists can win in big races overseas,’’ said Go For Gold Philippines godfather Jeremy Go.
Providing the much-needed lift for Carcueva, who captured his first international race, were Go For Gold’s Ronnilan Quita (fourth overall), Ismael Grospe (seventh), Ronnel Hualda (13th), Jericho Jay Lucero (16th) and Elmer Navarro (18th).
“This is Jonel’s first GC (win). We have seen the potential in him as early as 2015 and joined the Go For Gold program more than two years ago,” said Go For Gold project director Ednalyn Hualda.
While Carcueva pulled off a breakthrough with his first GC, the 18-year-old Krog ended up victorious in the junior division of the three-day international bikathon just three weeks after he ruled the elite race of the four-stage Tour of Matabungkay.
The only Filipino entry out of 35 riders, Krog frustrated Indonesians Ahmad Yoga Ilham Firdaus and Angga Dwi Wahyu Prahesta on their turf to seize the GC after topping the road race and placing second in the ITT behind Firdaus.
Krog impressively nosed out Firdaus in a dead heat after both clocked one hour and 51 minutes in the 65.30km road race before the Filipino rider crossed the line ahead of his stubborn Indonesian foe in the criterium finale.