Tagaytay City—A short uphill climb towards the finish line will decide the winner in Stage 1 when the 10th edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas hits the road today in Tagaytay City.
The skills and resolve of many climbing specialists will be tested in the last 3.6-km stretch of the 129.5-kilometer route heading towards the finish line at the Praying Hands Monument.
Tagaytay City Rep. and Philipine Olympic Committee Chairman Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and Mayor Agnes Tolentino will flag off Stage 1, which will also have its start at the monument.
For national coach Reinhard Gorrantes, this is an opportunity for Filipino riders to take centerstage, and grab a stage win.
This is because they will have to fight it out for the top honors with nine foreign teams that are also seeing action.
“Sa ngayon, ang ruta ay mahirap. Filipino riders are born climbers. And this is a challenge for Filipino riders. Sana ma-grab nila ang opportunity,” said Gorrantes.
The terrain of Stage 1 will have four short climbs before they reach a steeper route that will greet riders from participating squads, which now number around 14, following the withdrawal of Team Hong Kong three days ago, and Iran two months ago.
The Philippine national team will be bannered defending champion El Joshua Carino, who won last year with Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance. He is the third Filipino champion of the race.
Marcelo Felipe, who won the UCI-sanction PRURide race in Subic, will lead 7-Eleven Cliqq-Air21 By Roadbike Philippines.
Known as the Best Young Rider in 2018, Daniel Carino will carry Go For Gold, while Mark John Lexer Galedo, the 2014 winner, will be riding for Celeste Cycle.
On the other hand, Michael Angelo Ochoa will spearhead Bike X Philippines.
Among the foreign teams expected to keep Filipino riders on their toes are Nex Cycling Team (Singapore), PGN Road Cycling Team (Indonesia) and Oliver’s Real Food Racing (Australia).
Joining the fray are Terrenganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Taiyuan Moigee Cycling Team (China), Team Nero Bianchi (Australia), Team Ukyo (Japan), Team Sapura Cycling and Thailand National Team.
To mark a decade of racing, organizer Ube Media Inc., headed by President Donna Lina, has modified the colors of the jerseys for the various categories.
The entire race covers 822.2 kms of paved road down south of Manila.
After Stage 1, it will be followed by a 194.9-kilometer Stage 2 on June 15 from Pagbilao, Quezon to Daet, Camarines Norte. Since this is the longest route of the race, this could decide the overall winner this early.
Stage 3 on June 16 will be 183.7 kilometers from Daet to Legazpi City and Stage 4 will cover 176 kilometers from Legazpi City via Sorsogon and Gubat and back to the Albay capital.
Stage Five 5 also be out-and-back in Legazpi City, but this time it will be via Donsol in Sorsogon for a total of 145.8 kilometers—a crucial final leg where the cyclists will have to endure pedaling over rolling hills and strong winds.
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