CYCLING officials hope that the new route passing through three different expressways in Central Luzon to be showcased in the coming 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas will also bring in investors to the country.
This year, Le Tour unveiled a new route for the international race called ‘Triple X’ in which will have cyclists traversing the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), and the newly-built Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
The ‘Triple-X’ route will be held in Stage Two from Olongapo City to Cabanatuan City in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-sanctioned race to be held from April 21 to 24.
From a race standpoint, race manager Paquito Rivas said passing the three expressways will avoid incidents of heavy traffic in the international race where 15 continental teams including two from the Philippines will be competing.
“Kapag doon tayo sa MacArthur Highway dumaan, may problema sa trapik. Bawal sa atin sa international na may trapik kaya napili natin ang TPLEX, NLEX, at SCTEX,” said Rivas, a former Tour champion and Eagle of the Mountain known as ‘Mang Paking’ in the cycling circuit.
Jerry Jara, president of the organizing Air21, said the ‘Triple-X’ route also hopes to invite investors to the Philippines — particularly the Central Luzon area.
“We are showcasing the ‘Triple-X’ for us to show that we have good roads that could help bring in investors and help our country,” said Jara.
Ding Cruz, one of the commisaires of the Le Tour, said the Philippines was actually the first country in Southeast Asia to use expressways in a cycling race years ago before Malaysia’s more popular Tour de Langkawi followed suit.
“We are the first ones to use the expressways. After that, Tour de Langkawi saw that it was possible. So I think we made history there. We owe it to the organizers,” said Cruz.