ASEAN MTB Cup to revive mountainbiking in Southeast Asia
By Mars G. Alison
Mountainbiking in Southeast Asia is about to get revived with the holding of the two-leg ASEAN MTB Cup. The 1st leg will be held in Danao City, north of Cebu, from June 13 to 15 while the 2nd and final leg will be held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia in August.
During the event launching Tuesday at the Irie Gastropubliko, Athena Beltran-Mendoza, a former member of the Philippine Mountainbike Team and now a national mountainbike commissaire, said that the event is created because they saw the need of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) races not only here in the Philippines but also in other countries of the Southeast Asian region.
The series of races is aimed at giving mountainbikers international exposure especially that there is only one major race before the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) and the Asian Games, said Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, a UCI international commissaire.
Rodriguez said the lack of international exposure is the reason why we don’t do well in the SEA Games and Asian Games.
Rodriguez used to spearhead several local, national and even international mountainbike races in Cebu. The sport, however, waned with the last international race held back in 2005 via the SEA Games.
Beatrice Lajawa of Malaysia and also a UCI international commissaire attributed the drought of races to lack of funding and scarcity of people who have the technical knowledge of the sport.
“There is a lot of road cycling in Asia but seldom do you hear about mountainbike races in Asia. We need to work together and work very hard not to compete with the road cycling but to give a chance for everybody to get into a circuit, travel from one country to another and promote friendship between ASEAN countries,” Lajawa said.
There have been races like this in the past, however, this is something new as this is the first time that the race is made into a series, Rodriguez said.
He added that for this year, the series is not yet sanctioned by the UCI due to lack of time in processing the application but next year’s edition will definitely be. He also expressed hopes that more countries in the Southeast Asian regions will be able to host a leg of the series.
This year’s race will still follow UCI regulations and is sanctioned by the national mountainbike federation of the country hosts.
Aside from Rodriguez and Lajawa, the other UCI international commissaire for the series is Maximillaan Mager of Singapore.
The series is open to both the elite and local racers as it will have UCI and non-UCI categories for both Cross Country and Downhill events.
For the Cross Country event, categories are Men’s Elite, Junior and Master; Women’s Elite and Junior for the UCI categories while for the non-UCI there are the Men’s Open (19 Above), Master A (30-39) and Master B (40 and Above.
UCI categories for the Downhill are Men’s Elite and Women’s Elite while non-UCI categories are Men’s and Women’s Junior; Men’s Open and the Men’s Master A and B.
A point system will be used in the non-UCI categories to help the local racing scene of each host nation in implementing the UCI rules in future local races that will be run under the UCI regulations.
The top 3 will be named in each category and the top 5 will be chosen overall. In the final circuit, an ASEAN Cup jersey will be given to the point leaders while the leaders in the ASEAN sub-categories will get a Cup jersey.
A Facebook page and a website will soon be put up about the series but for those who want further information now, you can email Lajawa at firstname.lastname@example.org for those in Malaysia; Beltran-Mendoza at email@example.com for those in the Philippines and Mager at firstname.lastname@example.org for those in Singapore.
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