ON its fourth year as a triathlon team, the Rider Omega Pro Tri-Team is heading in a new direction and will be campaigning as a commercial squad starting this year.

The Cebu-based team beefed up its lineup with the addition of top-tier local triathletes and former members of Alaska Tri-Aspire Banjo Norte of Cagayan de Oro City, Kristiane Lim of Cebu and Paul Jumamil of Tagbilaran City. Also added in the roster are local elites like Cianyl Jamae Gonzalez, Johnny Ferniz, Franz Baguio and Welmar Saavedra.

Tonyson Luther Lee, the marketing manager of Rider Omega Pro Tri Team, told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that the main goal for the team this year is to be able to represent Cebu in Luzon races.

“We are the first Visayas-Mindanao-based triathlon team that goes commercial and we hope to represent Cebu one of the races in Luzon,” he said.

The team has now a solid core of 27 members and will be fielding a 15-man line up for the Tri United Series, a three-leg race set in Feb. 28, July 3 and Oct. 23 in Subic Bay.

Plan

Lee said that part of the plan is to send their elite triathletes in the Ironman World Championship slated in October, if anyone of them would clinch a qualifying time in one of the two qualifiers—Ironman Subic 70.3 Philippines and 2016 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship.

“For the past three years, we have supported our members, but it’s more like a family-oriented squad. This time around, it will be different since we are now a commercial team. We will provide the triathletes their essential needs. For example, we are giving them all-expense-paid for the races that they’ll be joining,” quipped Lee.

Lee said that the new members have asked permission from their former teams before joining Rider Omega Pro Tri Team.

“Norte, Lim and Jumamil did not renew an extension contract for Alaska Tri-Aspire, so they don’t have any commitment on their former team, while the rest of the new members kay nananghid jud og tarong sa ilang previous na team before ni sign-up sa Omega Tri Team,” said Lee.

Grassroots clinic

Aside from joining different races, the team is going to hold a grassroots clinic for triathlon this year. The training camp is dedicated for less fortunate children that has potentials in the sport. Lee said that the camp will be mentored by their elite triathletes and will take place this coming summer.

Rounding up the rest of the team members are Mendel Lopez, Jeffrey Codino, Lorhiz Echavez-Lopez, Paul Jake Castillo, Christopher Capistrano, Frederick Castaneda, Reinier Englis, Allistair Patino, Joseph Larida, Alton, Enzo and Lorna Amor, Steve Cortez, En Torres, Rashell Cabrera, Sean Yu, Lee, Ryan Capuno, Jezryl Villarete and Rachel Rae Ngo.

The team will be formally launched on Jan. 21 at the Robinsons Galleria Atrium.