The Go For Gold Developmental Cycling Team got tested in a series of punishing mountainous terrains and gallantly passed the grade in a challenging four-day bikathon in Vietnam.
Ismael Grospe Jr. was named King of the Mountain in the prestigious Dien Bien Phu 2019 international race while fellow Go For Gold riders Daniel Ven Carino and Ean Cajucom nearly hit the target in the sprint classification.
Jericho Jay Lucero then put the finishing touches to an impressive campaign against an elite field of riders by placing second in the torturous final stage behind Vietnamese climber Huynh Thanh Tung.
“Our young guns have proven that our faith in them is well-placed,’’ said Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go.
“Despite being young athletes, they raced well against older and more experienced cyclists,’’ added Go, vice president for marketing of Powerball Marketing and Logistics Corp., the organization behind the Go For Gold program.
After making it to the top 10 of the general classification, the 20-year-old Grospe also duplicated his feat as Ronda Pilipinas best young rider by winning the same award in Vietnam.
“We did well in this race, but it doesn’t mean okay na. There are a lot of things to improve on and we have to do it gradually. Hindi pwedeng biglain,’’ said Go For Gold project director Ednalyn Hualda.
Marc Ryan Lago, another promising cyclist who also rides for the national team, checked in third overall in the best young rider race followed by Lucero at fourth and Cajucom at seventh, their combined efforts with Grospe helping the team finish fifth overall out of 12 teams.
Aside from cycling, Go For Gold has a stable of champions in skateboarder Margielyn Didal, the Philippine dragonboat team from the Philippine Canoe-Kayak Dragonboat Federation and reigning Southeast Asian Games men’s triathlon champion Nikko Huelgas.
Go For Gold is also backing chess international master John Marvin Miciano and national athletes from wrestling, sepak takraw, the Philippine Air Force men’s volleyball squad, the San Juan Knights in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League and the Go For Gold-CSB team in the PBA D-League.