LE Tour de Filipinas celebrates its 10th year with a five-stage race firing off on June 14 in Tagaytay City.
From four stages in all of the International Cycling Union (UCI) 2.2 race’s first nine years, the 2019 edition will be five days starting with the 129.50 kms Tagaytay City-Tagaytay City out-and-back Stage One.
Stage Two is a 194.90-km race from Pagbilao in Quezon to Daet in Camarines Norte, followed by Stage 3, a 183.70-km ride from Daet to Legaspi City where Mayon Volcano and its majestic splendor welcome the arrival of the 15 teams — five local and 10 international—composed of 75 riders.
The last two stages will be out-and-back courses from Legaspi City.
Stage Four will cover 176.00 kms via Sorsogon and Gubat in Sorsogon, followed by a highly technical Stage Five over 145.80 kms passing through Sorsogon’s quaint coastal town of Donsol made famous all by the gentle swimming giant butanding.
“For nine years, the Le Tour de Filipinas has never ceased to achieve its purpose —promote cycling not only as a sport, but as a way of life. And on the 10th year, the mission remains as fervent as ever,” said Alberto Lina, who in 2002 revived the Philippine Tour after going inactive for three years.
In 2002, businessman-sportsman Lina took over the cudgels and bankrolled what is now called the Le Tour de Filipinas, an advocacy and support that is 19 years and counting for the former federation president now PhilCycling chairman.
David McCann of Ireland won the first Le Tour de Filipinas in 2010, followed by Iran’s Rahim Emami, Filipino rider Baler Ravina, Iran’s Ghader Mizbani, Filipino cyclist Mark Galedo, Frenchman Thomas Lebas, Kazakhstan’s Oleg Zemlyakov, Jai Crawford of Australia.
Last year’s winner El Joshua Carino returns to defend his title riding for the Philippine National Team-Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance squad. He will be joined in the challenge by former champion Marc Galedo of 7-Eleven Air 21 Roadbike Philippines.