JERMYN PRADO snatched two gold medals, Jonel Carcueva kept his throne and Kim Bonilla was hailed as a rising star in the recent PhilCycling National Championships for Road that was raced in what could be the most punishing and cruel road route in years.

Prado won the women’s individual time trial and criterium to remain queen of Philippine cycling—she lost the criterium gold medal going to Maura de los Reyes in the four-day championships Philippine Olympic Committee and PhilCycling president and Mayor Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino hosted in Tagaytay City.

Prado won the 15-km individual time trial (ITT) in 34 minutes and 43.80 seconds. She clocked 3:22:04 in the 104-km road race that was punishing and cruel in the final 15 kms where the riders almost yielded to the steep climb from Agoncillo in Batangas to Alfonso in Cavite toward the Praying Hands monument in Tagaytay City.

Carcueva was as unrelenting in the 127-km men’s road event punctuated by the same climb where a majority of the riders had to dismount and push their bikes up the climb whose gradient ranged from 5 percent to as nerve-sapping as 28 percent.

He clocked 3:05:20 to lead a 1-2-3 finish by the Go For Gold team in the 120.85-km and 190-cyclist race presented by Standard Insurance and MVP Sports Foundation and supported by the POC, Philippine Sports Commission, supported by Chooks-to-Go and Excellent Noodles.

Rustom Lim submitted the best time of 36:21:50 in the 20-km Men Elite ITT, thus ending the reign of Mark John Lexer Galedo, who was 13 seconds slower at fifth place, while Excellent Noodles’s Ryan Tugawin dominated the Men Elite criterium to also share the spotlight.

The championships started Tuesday last week with the criterium races around a 2.2-km loop starting and ending at the Praying Hands with Prado and De Los Reyes providing a dramatic you-or-me showdown made story-book perfect by blinding fog and heavy rain.

The women raced eight loops with De Los Reyes and Prado forming the tip of the competition in the final four laps when a heavy downpour and fog made visibility difficult to five meters—and it was only close to 5 o’clock in the afternoon.

It was in the final 200 meters that De Los Reyes made a mad sprint to the finish to win gold and relegated Prado, the 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist, to the silver medal.

Bonilla, only 17, the pride of Natividad in Nueva Ecija raced like a seasoned veteran and pedaled away with the Women Junior criterium and ITT gold medals.

She finished some half a minute behind Weniza Claire Vinoya (3:11:35.32) in the 86-km road race of the championships also backed by the POC, Philippine Sports Commission, 7-Eleven, and CCN and staged in cooperation with Tagaytay City, Eighth District of Cavite, First District of Batangas, City of Calaca and the Municipalities of Nasugbu, Tuy, Balayan, Agoncillo, Laurel and Lian, as well as the Philippine National Police and Batangas Red Cross.

The other winners were: Mathilda Krogg (Under 23), Angelica Mae Alta Marino (Junior), and Maria Louise Crisselle Alejado (Youth) in women’s criterium; Farin Guill Aisaiah Abigania (Youth), Pepito Khalil (Junior) and Steven Nicolas Shane Tablizo (Under 23) in men’s criterium;

Maria Louise Crisselle Alejado (Youth) and Phoebe Salazar (Under 23) in women’s criterium; Darius John Villasenor (Youth), Andrei Domingo (Junior), and Joshua Pascual (Under 23) in men’s ITT; and John Arwin Velasco (Junior) and Joshua Pascual (Under 23) in men’s road race.