THE Ronda Pilipinas has cancelled its Mindanao qualifying leg in the wake of the Maguindanao clash between police and rebels that left over 40 members of the PNP Special Action Force dead.
Ronda was set to hold a race on Feb. 8 from Butuan City to Cagayan de Oro and the next day from Tubod, Lanao del Norte to Dipolog.
"We're sorry to announce that we're foregoing the Mindanao qualifiers for fear of the safety of the whole Ronda delegation including our cyclists," said Ronda Pilipinas Executive Project Director Moe Chulani.
Organizers said additional stages in Visayas, possibly Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, will be held.
"We remain firm with our goal of finding talents in the provinces so we will bring the Mindanao riders to the Visayas where we will add a qualifying leg that will replace the Mindanao stages," said Chulani.
The Visayas legs are set Feb. 11 to 12 in Dumaguete, Sipalay and Bacolod and the Luzon qualifying on Feb. 15 and 16 in Antipolo City and Tarlac City.
About 100 riders will advance from the qualifying races and battle in the championship round where they will join 2014 Ronda Pilipinas champion Reimon Lapaza of Butuan City, and the national team led by Mark Galedo.
The championship round starts in Calamba, Laguna on Feb. 21, followed by the Calamba-Lucena Stage Two, Lucena-Antipolo Stage Three, Bulacan-Tarlac Stage Four, Tarlac-Dagupan Stage Five, Dagupan-Baguio Stage Six, the Sto Tomas Hill Stage Seven Individual Time Trial and the Baguio Stage Eight criterium.