A FIELD packed with 10 continental teams and five clubs based in eight different countries and one national squad make the fifth edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas the most formidable ever as the Philippines’ only international race hits the road from April 21 to 24.
Presented by Air21 headed by its president Jerry Jara and co-organized by UBE media, the 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas starts with the 160-kilometer first stage from Clark to Olongapo City on April 21, followed by the 170-km Stage Two from Olongapo City to Cabanatuan City on April 22, the 146.6-km Stage Thrree from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong (Nueva Viscaya) on April 23 and the 134-km Stage Four from Bayombong to Baguio City via Kayapa Road and Ambuklao on April 24.
Supported principally by Smart, NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX, BCDA, Petron and Victory Liner, the LtDF, an advocacy of PhilCycling chairman Bert Lina aimed at further promoting competitive and leisure cycling and boosting tourism, 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines (continental) and Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance of sports patron Judes Echauz will be carrying the fight for the country against grizzled riders of various nationalities.
Jonifer “Baler” Ravina, the 2012 LtDF champion, and two-time local tour titlist Mark Galedo will lead 7-Eleven’s charge, while another former two-time Philippine champion Santy Barnachea and the ever-reliable Lloyd Lucien Reynante will head Navy-Standard Insurance’s bid.
They will be up against continental teams Aisan Racing Team and Team Uyko of Japan, KSPO Cycling Team of Korea, PT Pegasus Cycling Team of Indonesia, Terengganu Cycling Team of Malaysia, CCN Cycling Team of Brunei, OCBC Cycling Team of Singapore, Polygon Sweet Nice of Ireland and Tabriz Shahrdari Ranking of Iran.
The club teams on the roster include Atilla Cycling Club of Mongolia, Satalyst Giant Racing Team of Australia and Track Team Astana of Kazakhstan. Joining the fray is the United Arab Emirates’ national squad.
“We expect a more exciting race this year with the participation of 10 continental teams and three other formidable foreign squads,” Jara, the new organizer of the LtDF, said. “Our Filipino riders, however, are as prepared to again keep the title in Philippine soil.
A continental team is a registered squad in the International Cycling Union, the world governing body for cycling. It is a professional team that races year-round in UCI-sanctioned races with its riders earning points to boost their world rankings.