Team Go For Gold has transformed into a continental cycling team to boost the chances of sending a Filipino cyclist to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Going continental was a move in the right direction for Go For Gold after keeping up with the best riders in the international arena and consistently reaching the podium in several local and overseas races throughout the year.
“I believe it’s the next logical step in order to improve our cyclists,’’ said Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go. “This will allow us access to bigger competitions, which we can use to gauge our performance.’’
Go For Gold riders Jonel Carcueva, Ronnel Hualda, Jay Lampawog, Daniel Carino, Boots Ryan Cayubit and Rex Luis Krog are bracing themselves for a bigger challenge starting with the Tour de Indonesia in January next year.
Also up to the task are Ismael Grospe Jr., Ronnilan Quita, Elmer Navarro, Jericho Jay Lucero and Joshua Bonifacio as the team prepares for its 2019 calendar of competition filled with the more punishing UCI 2.1 category races.
According to Go For Gold project director Ednalyn Hualda, the step toward going continental was necessary not only for the progress of the team, but also for the riders to gain more UCI points and earn a shot at qualifying in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Hualda said they are looking at 10 international races a year with each Go For Gold rider competing in at least seven races.
“We have been trying to get more races for them para tuloy-tuloy ang development ng mga riders. It will also help them earn more points in their bid for Tokyo 2020,’’ said Hualda.
The five-stage Tour de Indonesia, categorized as a UCI 2.1 race, almost presents the same level of challenge as the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia.
Carcueva recently finished seventh overall in the individual general classification of the Tour de Singkarak, a UCI 2.2 race, in Indonesia recently while Grospe and Quita were not far behind in the GC after eight stages.
“The results of the Tour de Singkarak showed that we are capable of going head to head with the continental teams. I think we are now ready to go up to a higher level of competition,’’ said Go For Gold project director Ednalyn Hualda.