HANGZHOU—Shagne Paula Yaoyao was seventh and Arian Evangelista was pulled from the race after lagging behind by two laps in the women’s cross-country Olympic of cycling’s mountain bike in the 19thAsian Games on Monday.
“They’re like robots,” was Yaoyao’s reaction to China’s Li Hongfeng and Ma Caixia, who were 1-2 the technical race still looking fresh and capable for more while the rest were spent.
Li clocked one hour, 30 minutes and 59 seconds to improve on the silver she clinched in Indonesia five years ago.
Ma crossed six minutes later to finish with the silver medal with a six-minute gap over bronze medalist Faranak Partoazar of Iran.
Yaoyao wound up seventh in the 15-rider field with a 26-minute gap to Li.
“But I’m happy with my result, I really did my best here and I didn’t expect to land in the top 10,” said Yaoyao, a bronze medalist in MTB’s mixed relay in the Cambodia SES Games last May.
She competed in the UCI world championships along with Evangelista last month in Scotland but raced in her first Asian Games.
“I hardly believe how tough and strong the Chinese were,” said PhilCycling secretary-general Atty. Billy Sumagui. “While the others were visibly exhausted and drained, the Chinese looked like they could go several more laps.”
For Evangelista, it was tough luck—her front tire had reduced pressure and her rear was super flat. She had to run her bike 2 kms to the feed zone to have both replaced thus losing two laps in the event raced over a 4.8-km loop.
She had to be pulled out of the race along with three others, while another three entries were more unfortunate as they ended up DNF or did not finish.
“It was very dry today and there were too many rocks,” said Evangelista of the course.
With MTB done, the country’s campaign—supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, who also heads PhilCycling, and the Philippine Olympic Committee—in cycling reverts to BMX racing with 2014 Incheon Asiad gold medalist Daniel Caluag teaming up with Patrick Coo. Their event is set October 1.
After BMX, Ronald Oranza, Jonel Carcueva and Joshua Pascual vie in Road on October 6.