EIGHTEEN foreign teams are looking to see action in the sixth Le Tour de Filipinas — the only multi-stage road race in the country sanctioned by cycling’s world governing body Union Cycliste Internationale — set February 1 to 4 next year.
Mostly composed of returnees, the list includes four teams from Iran — TSR Continental Team, TPT Cycling Team, Pishgaman Yazd Pro Cycling Team and Tabriz Shahrdadi Team. Two teams from Japan have sent their applications — Team Ukyo and Bridgestone Cycling Team, while two from Taiwan — RTS Carbon Team and Attaque Team Gusto — are also planning to join the race.
The Frøy-Bianchi Continental Team based in Norway, United States-based Team Novo Nordisk and Australian teams Satalyst Giant Racing Team and Team Vorarlberg have also applied for the event.
Organized by Ube Media, the race — Air21 PhilCycling chairman Bert Lina’s brainchild to bring Philippine cycling to the global stage which celebrates 60 years of the Philippine Tour in 2015 — also has applicants from Brunei (CNN Cycling team and Brunei Prince’s Team), Kazakhstan (Astana Continental Team), Indonesia (Pegasus Continental Team), Malaysia (Terengganu Cycling Team) and Uzbekistan (National Team).
Organizers are keen at limiting participation to 15 teams, including two local squads — the PhilCycling national training pool and continental team 7-Eleven — for the Le Tour where Mark John Galedo is the defending general classification champion.
Stage One on February 1 will be an out-and-back 126-kilometer Balanga-Balanga ride over Bataan’s mountains; Stage 2 on February 2 will be 153.75 km of relatively flat racing from Balanga to Iba, Zambales; Stage 3 on February 3 will be a similarly flat 149.34-km race from Iba to Lingayen in Pangasinan; and Stage 4 on February 4 will be from Lingayen to Burnham Park in Baguio City via Kennon Road.
Baler Ravina also won in 2012, while other winners are Iranians Rahim Emami (2011) and Ghader Mizbani (2013), and David McCann of Ireland (2010).7