Home Sports Aguja, Gaerlan make rare podium finish in Asian cycling

Aguja, Gaerlan make rare podium finish in Asian cycling


PH cycling


Only a sprinkling of Filipino cyclists have made it to the pinnacle of success in the Asian Continental Championships.

John Andre Aguja and Gart Gaerlan are now part of that elite cast after climbing the podium of the 2024 Asian Mountain Bike Championships on the rugged trails of Putrajaya, Malaysia.

“It really feels great. But while winning a medal here comes as a blessing, I feel that I can achieve more,’’ said Aguja after seizing a bronze medal out of 28 riders in the junior cross-country Olympic course race.

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Gaerlan, who is likewise riding for the Go For Gold Cycling Team, took the silver medal in the elite cross-country eliminator event.

The 28-year-old Aguja crossed the line in 56 minutes after completing the 15.6-kilometer course in a super-tight finish with Chinese riders Qin Shaochao and Wen Linghao.

Aguja, who arrived just six seconds off the gold-performing Qin, bolted out of the gates and sped ahead in the first lap at the 5.2-kilometer mark, but somehow slowed down over the next two laps as Qin and Wen brilliantly chased him down.

“I was close to winning it, I just came short. I know what to do when I encounter such a challenge,” said Aguja, Go For Gold’s prized find from Iriga City, Camarines Sur.

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It was the fifth podium finish for Aguja overseas, but this one is by far the biggest.

He reasserted his mastery in the juniors of the Thailand MTB Cup 1 in January, the first Union Cycliste Internationale race of the year.

Aguja is the highest-ranked Asian in the junior MTB UCI world rankings at No. 25. He went up as high as No. 8 in the rankings after that golden finish in the Thailand MTB Cup 1.

The Siklab Youth Sports Awardee also ruled the same Thai race last year after earning his spurs in MTB cross country by securing gold medals in the Coupe de Japon MTB in Yawatahama, Japan in May 2023 and the Siol MTB Challenge in South Korea.

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