CEBUANO Philippine national team mountain biker Niño Surban trailed behind the pack, but overcame the odds to finish 13th overall in the Fujimi Panorama 2014 Series last weekend in Japan.

Surban crossed the finish line in 1 hour 53 minutes and 55 seconds. He competed against 82 elite riders.

“Japanese riders are positioned in front, since I’m not Japanese I had to start the race at the back,” Surban told Sun.Star Cebu earlier.

The Talamban, Cebu-native was in Japan for the two UCI-sanctioned races. Before the Fujimi Panorama, he competed in the Yawatahama race last May 25 and finished ninth overall, a far cry from last year’s 20th finish.

“The two races were great, from the race course to the professional riders, the competition level was different,” Surban said.

According to Surban, the Japanese had high-caliber riders who may be the number one in Asia in MTB races.

“I had a lot of fun even though I was not able to go to the podium,” he added.

Before his race in Japan, he snatched gold in the Philippine National Games (PNG) to remain the national team’s formidable rider. He will again get a chance to carry the country’s pride in the first leg of MTB Asean Cup on July 13 to 15 in Danao City.