Nichol Pareja ruled the men’s road race elite class and Jonel Carcueva won the under-23 category in the PhilCycling National Championships for Road 2022 on Friday in Tagaytay City.
What started as an easy ride for the 123 riders—79 of them Elite—turned into a challenging race as they took on two strength-sapping climbs—first a 400-meter straight on that splintered the peloton in Agoncillo and second, the short but cruel Sungay Road that separates Talisay in Batangas and Tagaytay.
“When I saw the opportunity, I didn’t let it slip away,” said Pareja, riding for 7-Eleven Roadbike Philippines who finished the 137-km grind that started and finished at the Praying Hands Monument here in 3 hours, 19 minutes and 54 seconds.
Pareja’s teammate, veteran Marcelo Felipe, kept him company most of the Sungay climb but had to settle for the silver medal after crossing the finish line 14 seconds later.
Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance’s Jhon Mark Camingao finished behind Felipe to complete the podium of the centerpiece event of the championships organized by PhilCycling and Philippine Olympic Committee President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino.
Carcueva was a warrior on the saddle, too. The Scratch It! bet was fifth overall, but was the best Under 23 rider to also don the national championship jersey that bore the country’s quad-colors over a all-navy blue background.
“It was tough, I had to really focus especially in the climb,” said Pareja a few minutes after completing the race of the championships calendared by the International Cycling Union or UCI.
Pareja finished in 3:20:11.401, almost 50 seconds ahead of sister teammate Jericho Jay Lucero of Go for Gold. Rench Michael Bondoc was the third podium finisher for 7-Eleven in the road race by bagging bronze, crossing some four seconds behind Lucero.