THE organizer of the Le Tour de Filipinas (LTdF) is pushing back the five-stage race four months to actively join preparations for the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games and to allow adequate time for the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken provinces in the Bicol Region.
Scheduled February 17 to 21 as a five-stage race from the previous four stages to level up in its first decade, the organizing UBE Media is now eyeing June 14 to 18, closer to the SEA Games set November 30 to December 11.
UBE Media has written world cycling governing body Union Cycliste Internationale through the Asian Cycling Confederation about the schedule.
“The Le Tour organization wanted to help harness our cyclists to their best possible condition in time for the SEA Games,” UBE Media Inc. president Donna Lina said. “And because of the recent calamity that struck Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and the rest of the Bicol Region, it has become more imperative that we postpone the race.”
Albay, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon were declared under a state of calamity because of tropical depression Usman, which caused landslides and massive flooding in areas where the LTdF’s 10th editon would specifically pass through, particularly in the town of Sagnay which was badly hit.
“In as much as we are ecstatic to celebrate 10 years of the Le Tour, we are one in prayers that our countrymen in the Bicol Region recover fast and well from the calamity,” Lina said.
The LTdF 2018 was moved from February to late May after Mayon Volcano’s eruption in January.
This year’s LTdF will start in Tagaytay City, main hub of all cycling disciplines—road, mountain bike and BMX—for the SEA Games—and will pass through Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon. Legaspi City will host the finish of the five-stage Category 2.2 UCI Asia Tour race.
June will be a busy month for Philippine cycling with the PhilCycling National Championships for Road, MTB and BMX and a proposed UCI National Commissaires’ Course for the three disciplines. The LTdF and national championships will cap trials for the selection of athletes for the SEA Games.
El Joshua Carino of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance is expected to defend his crown and will be racing alongside 2014 winner Mark John Lexer Galedo of continental team 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines.
Newly-minted continental team Go For Gold and the National Under-23 Team of the PhilCycling are also seeing action.