Italian pro joins Hell of Marianas

Italian professional cyclist Paolo Caputo is seen here negotiating a curve in one of the races he joined in Asia in 2013. Caputo will be competing in this year’s Hell of the Marianas. (Contributed Photo)

Italian professional cyclist Paolo Caputo will also be a rider to watch in next weekend’s 11th Hell of the Marianas.

He is expected to battle defending champion Jan Paul Morales of Team Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance for the men’s pro title in the region’s punishing 100-kilometer race around the island’s steep and curvy roads on Dec. 2.

Caputo, who started as a competitive youth cyclist at 10 years old in Italy, came out of retirement in 2010 or 20 years after calling it quits in 1990 to concentrate with his studies. He now represents Hong Kong since moving there in 2002 and races under Team EVO Sports.

The now 43-year-old expat had a storied cycling career in Italy as he won over 100 trophies and was then a perennial Top 5 finisher when he was still racing for GSC Crispiano Pugliano, his hometown’s cycling team. He was a five-time Puglia Region Road and Track points races titlist.

Caputo’s latest achievement was finishing second to Jean Lou-Paiani of France in the overall road race in the Tour of Egat Kanchanaburi 2017 in Thailand. He only lost by seven seconds against the 28-year-old Frenchman.

Caputo also topped the 125-kilometer Stage 3 of the same race after clocking in at 3:15:55 and beating Lou-Paiani and Julius Mark Bonzo. He finished second to the French bet in the next stage, finishing 19 seconds behind. The Italian also placed seventh overall in the men’s Individual Time Trial of the 2017 Hong Kong National Championships, while topping the third stage of the same road race. He finished first in Stage 2 of the 2016 edition of the Hong Kong event

Caputo is also a three-time Hong Kong road race champion (2012-2014), aside from having similar podium finishes in different races in Thailand, the Philippines, and China.

Filipino bets Mark John Lexer Galedo, Viel Carino, Ronald Lomotos, El Joshua Carino, Lloyd Lucien Reynante, Angelico Ochoa, Japan’s Daisuke Kaneko, and Hong Kong national riders Chi Ho Yuen, Kai Chun Wong, Sing Lam Wan, Tsun Hin Chiu, and Bryan Wong are also out to challenge Caputo and Morales for the men’s pro crown.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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