RONDA Pilipinas will introduce a series of innovations when it hits the road starting with the five-stage Mindanao leg that will go through Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay and Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon from February 20-27.
Going with the international trend, Ronda organizers decided to hold a combination of road race, individual time trial and criterium races instead of the massive dose of road race type of races similar to the ones they did in their first five editions.
Now on its sixth edition, Ronda, presented by LBC and backed by major sponsors Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp. and minor sponsors Maynilad and NLEX, will also focus on not just scraping the countryside of potential pool of young talents but also getting the fans more involved with their newly introduced community ride.
"We need to adapt to the way races are done in the world stage as this project is to groom champions for flag and country," said Ronda sports development head Moe Chulani.
"And also, we want all the cities, towns and provinces we visit to have a chance to see our riders and our race the whole day and getting them involved because we will be a community ride for the first time ever," he added.
Unlike before, Ronda, which is staking millions of prices as purses per stage and leg, will have three separate overall winners from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon.
This year's Ronda, which has tapped 3Q Sports headed by Quin and Jojo Baterna and assisted by Rommel Bobiles or the same group behind Giro de Pilipinas in Subic last October, is encouraging not just aspiring riders but also ordinary townsfolk to get the feel of its races.
"LBC Sports Devt Corp. feels everyone should have the chance to join Ronda Pilipinas 2016, which is the fourth biggest race in the world in terms of distance covered, not just the elite riders," said Chulani.
"That's why Ronda Pilipinas 2016 will be a bigger and better event where we will have everyone including the executives and amateurs joining us," he added.
Ronda will officially start on February 20 with a road race from Butuan City and back, proceeds with a criterium on the same city the next day and in Cagayan de Oro on February 23, an ITT in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich on February 25 before concluding with another criterium in Malaybalay on February 27.
The Visayas leg is composed of a Stage One criterium in Bago City, Negros Occidental on March 11, Stage Two criterium in Iloilo City on March 13, a Stage Three road race from Ilolilo to Roxas City on March 15, a Stage Four criterium and Stage Five ITT both in Roxas on March 17.
Capping Ronda is the Luzon stages consisting of a Stage One criterium at the Paseo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on April 3, a Stage Two ITT from Talisay to Tagaytay the next day, a Stage Three criterium in Antipolo City on April 6, a Stage Four road race from Dagupan to Baguio on April 8 and a Stage Five criterium in the City of Pines.
Interested participants may visit Ronda's official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/girodepilipinas/?fref=ts and download and fill it up and send it to Cycling Pilipinas (LBC SPORTS DEVT. CORP.) c/o Ronda Pilipinas 2016 Secretariat located at Blk. 11 Lot 2 Bagong Calzada, Grenville Subdivision, Brgy. Ususan, Taguig City.