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    Three stages favor sprinters but climbers get one big chance as Tour title likely to be decided in final ascent to Baguio

    Jan 29, 2015

    THE sprinters’ mettle will be put to a tough test early in the 2015 Le Tour de Filipinas but the climbers are expected to take charge in the closing stage in Baguio City.

    A very fast start is expected in the sixth edition of Le Tour de Filipinas, marked with seven intermediate sprints spread in all four stages.

    And although there will be only four mountain primes, a climber is likely to take command when the four-stage race culminates in Baguio City, this time not at the heart of Burnham Park but a more strategic finish in front of the Baguio City Convention Center.

    [Titleholder Mark Galedo, two former champions head cast in Le Tour de Filipinas 2015]

    The 2015 Le Tour de Filipinas, a 532.50-kilometer race, celebrates 60 years of multi-stage road cycling in the country.

    “It will be a fast race with average speeds of no less that 40 kph,” said race manager Paquito Rivas, the 1979 Tour champion and the undisputed Eagle of the Mountain of Philippine cycling.

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    “But come Stage Four, the climbers will make their one final push,” he added.

    The race starts on Sunday with the 126-km Balanga-Balanga (Bataan) Stage One, followed by the 153.75-km Balanga-Iba (Zambales) Stage Two, 149.34-km Iba-Lingayen (Pangasinan) Stage Three and the 101-km Lingayen-Baguio City Stage Four.

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    The final King of the Mountain climb is set at close to 1,500 meters above sea level. For the first time in four years, the Le Tour will climb toward the country’s Summer Capital via the historic Kennon Road.

    Fifteen teams are again entered in the Union Cycliste International-calendared race presented by Air21 and co-presented by the MVP Sports Foundation and Smart.

    [Asian No. 1, two former champions lead Iranian contingent looking to dominate Le Tour de Filipinas]

    Team Novo Nordisk of the USA is seeing action as well as RTS Santic Racing Team (Taiwan), Attaque Team Gusto (Taiwan), Singha Infinite Cycling Team (Thailand), Navitas Satalyst Racing Team (Australia), CCN Cycling Team (Brunei), Pegasus Continental Cycling Team (Indonesia), Terengganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team (Japan), Pishgaman Yzad Pro Cycling Team (Iran), Tabriz Petrochemical Team (Iran) and 7-Eleven-Road Bike Philippines in the race that has Isuzu, MAN Truck and Bus, Viking Rent-A-Car and NLEX as road partners.

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    There are three national teams — Philippine PhilCycling Team, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan — in the UCI Asia Tour event supported by Victory Liner, San Mig Zero, Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals and Canon.

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