SUMMER is still a couple of months away, but Pinoy cyclists get an early treat with the staginf of Ronda Pilipinas 2015, which hits the road on February 8 to 27.
Designed solely for Pinoy cyclists, the youth-based bikathon starts its gruelling trip in Butuan City, passes through the Visayas before winding down in Baguio.
Now on its fifth year, the nationwide bicycle road race has practicaly opened the race to everyone, junking the old practice of letting the participating teams form their own squads.
Qualifying rounds will be held in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon to screen the rider-applicants.
The Mindanao qualifying round is scheduled Feb. 8 to 9 in Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Tubod in Lanao del Norte and Dipolog, while the Visayas qualifying leg is from Feb. 11 to 12 in Dumaguete, Sipalay and Bacolod. The Luzon elimination is from Feb. 15 and 16 in Antipolo City and Tarlac,.
A total of 100 riders are expected to qualify from the three qualifying races and into the championship round in Luzon where they will join the 2014 Ronda Pilipinas champion, Reimon Lapaza of Butuan City, Asian Cycling Championship-bound national cycling team headed by Mark Galedo and Ronald Oranza and a composite European team composed of mostly Danish cyclists in a battle for the top purse worth P1 million offered by title sponsor LBC.
According to Ronda Pilipinas executive project director Moe Chulani, l this year’s edition will focus on discovering, tapping and developing young riders while giving unknown riders a chance to compete against the country’s best.
“The main goal here is get our young riders to compete and hopefully we can discover some and tap and train them for our national team as well as helping PhilCycling’s renewed focus on grassroot development,” Chulani said.
Jack Yabut, Ronda administration director, said Ronda Pilipinas is encouraging talented junior riders aged 17 to 18 years old to participate.
“We’re trying to draw for young talents particularly the 17-18 age group. Of course, if they join, they will have their own specific rules to protect them. Overall, we want to unearth the talent out there,” said Yabut.
The event sanctioned by PhilCycling led by Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino starts with the Mindanao qualifiers starting with the Butuan-Cagayan de Oro Stage One and concluding with a Tubod-Dipolog Stage Two.
It will proceed to the Visayas qualifiers unfolding with the Dumaguete-Sipalay Stage One and ending with the Bacolod-Bacolod Stage Two before going to Luzon for the Antipolo-Antipolo and Tarlac-Tarlac two stages.
The championship round starts with the Laguna Stage One criterium, whicih will then be followed by the Calamba-Lucena Stage Two, Lucena-Antipolo Stage Three, Bulacan-Tarlac Stage Four, Tarlac-Dagupan Stage Five, Dagupan-Baguio Stage Six, the Sto Tomas Hill Stage Seven Individual Time Trial and, finally, the Baguio Stage Eight criterium.
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