Russian biker joins the fray
Russia’s Alexandr Dorovskikh will be joining the title hunt in the 11th Hell of the Marianas Century Cycling Race, making this Saturday’s event more interesting as he became the 15th pro rider to sign up for the competition.
Filipino biker Jan Paul Morales’ title defense bid is now much harder with the last minute entry of Dorovskikh, as the Russian bet is familiar with Saipan road, having competed in the HOM since 2012 and in Tagaman and XTERRA Saipan triathlon races.
Dorovskikh finished fourth in last year’s Hell of Marianas with a time of 3:07:57 or more than three minutes behind the 3:04:51 of 10th edition winner Morales, who is racing under the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance banner. The Khabarovsk City native, who was third in the 2012 HOM, came in second place behind compatriot Konstantin Fast in the 2015 edition. Dorovskikh crossed the finish line in 2:51:41 or 1:19 behind Fast’s 2:49:22.
Meanwhile, Team Hong Kong, led by six-time national rider and back-to-back China Cup Road Race champ (2010-2011) Chi Ho Yuen, is set to arrive today.
The 27-year-old Yuen brings with him an impressive credential. He was a consistent Top 5 finisher in races in Milwaukee, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Taiwan from 2008 to 2011.
Joining Yuen on his flight to Saipan via Hong Kong Express are fellow Hong Kong national riders Tsun Hin Chiu, Jeffrey Wan, and Bryan Wong, and men’s 45-49 age group participant Chris Lee, and female pros Jamie Wong and Yu Ng Chau.
Japan’s Daiseuke Kaneko of Team 7-Eleven and Yasue Nakahara, a member of the Netherlands-based Maaslandster International Women’s Cycling squad, will arrive on Saipan tonight via Delta Airlines.
Italian Paolo Caputo, who now races for Hong Kong, will be here on Dec. 1 along with the entire Philippine delegation, led by the 31-year-old Morales. Angelico Ochoa, Lloyd Lucien Reynante, El Joshua Carino, Ronald Lomotos, Mark John Lexer Galedo, and Viel Carino are the other Filipino riders competing in this weekend’s road race. The big bulk of the pro riders will arrive in time for the 3pm press conference tomorrow at the Mariana Resort & Spa.
In related news, HOM organizers are reminding the public to drive carefully on Saturday, starting at 6am as bicycle traffic would be heavy around the island. The race starts and ends at the Mariana Resort & Spa main entrance. From the starting line, riders will pass through As Matuis, Sucide Cliff, Bird Island, Grotto, Banzai Cliff, Beach Road, Pacific Islands Club-Saipan, Koblerville, Airport Road, Papago, Kagman, Escos, Kingfisher, Isa Drive, As Terlaje, Middle Road, and back to Mariana Resort.
Race organizers are also asking for the public’s cooperation to avoid accidents that happened in previous races. Several riders were nearly hit by passing cars in the San Vicente area going to Isa Drive and also in Beach Road near Joeten Garapan in 2014. Last year, two pro riders had a minor crash in the Suicide Cliff area after crashing into a car that was wrongly parked.