Le Tour de Filipinas features biggest field this year with 85 riders, 17 teams

LE Tour de Filipinas holds its biggest edition yet with 17 teams composed of 85 riders pedaling over four regions, seven provinces, 10 cities and 50 municipalities from May 20 to 23.

From the ninth edition’s Stage One start at the Quezon City Memorial Circle in Quezon City on May 20, the 17 squads — up by two from the traditional 15 teams of five riders each — will race to the Nueva Ecija finish in the capital Palayan City over Valenzuela City and seven towns in Bulacan, crossing the North Luzon Expressway in San Simon before passing through three more Pampanga and six Nueva Ecija municipalities.

Stage Two on May 21 will send the riders from Cabanatuan City again over Palayan City and four more Nueva Ecija towns before reaching the Balete Summit—or  Dalton Pass—as the race enters three Nueva Viscaya towns before the Bayombong finish for a distance of 157.90 kms.

May 22’s Stage 3 traces the same route this time from the Bambang start. The cyclists then negotiate the 184.00-km stage through Lupao before reaching Umingan, Pangasinan.

While in Stage Three, five towns and the city of Urdaneta in Pangasinan will witness the race with a big finish at the Provincial Capitol in Lingayen.

The decisive 154.65-km Stage Four on May 23 will send off the cyclists at the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol with the route covering flat roads on one city and 10 more towns in the province, before making the ascent in Rosario and Tuba in La Union for the ever treacherous Kennon Road climb.

The country’s only International Cycling Union road race, sanctioned by PhilCycling, organized by Ube Media Inc. and co-presented by Air21, Cignal and Hyper Channel, finishes at Burnham Park.

 “The Le Tour de Filipinas is not only about our sport of cycling, but about raising awareness about the sport over as much scope as possible,” said Donna Lina, UBE Media Inc. president and race organizer. “And we thank the local government units for their warmth and enthusiasm toward the race.”

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This year’s race is again expected to be decided by the Kennon Road climb, a Hors categorie ascent.

“Stage Four will be the crowning stage for this year’s tour,” National Commissaire Sunshine Joy Mendoza said. “In the history of the Tour, champions are made—or broken—by Kennon Road.”

For the first time in the Le Tour de Filipinas close to a decade history, the race crisscrosses through four regions — National Capital Region, Central Luzon, Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.

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