MANILA – The Le Tour De Filipinas blasts off starting February 18 at the foot of the fabled Mount Mayon in Legaspi City, Albay.
Seventy-five riders representing 15 teams that include the top 13 foreign continental teams will challenge two local squads- PhilCycling National Team and 7-11 Sava Road Bike Philippines.
This summer spectacle –Le Tour De Filipinas on its eight edition, will have four stages and shall cover a total distance of 726.55 kilometers.
It is sanctioned by Union Cycliste International (UCI), the world governing body of cycling.
“For the eight edition, we decided to reverse the route- from south to north,” said Dona Lina, president of the Le Tour organizer UBE Media Inc. “The route is more technical this time because of the gradual upward gradient from Sorsogon to Lucena City.”
According to the organizers, Stage One of the Le Tour- again presented by AIR21 – from Legaspi City to Sorsogon City which covers 164.5 kms. The riders will be flagged off with a scenic view of Mayon Volcano sending them off and the mystique of Mount Bulusan staring at them as they negotiate a Category 1 climb and head to the finish on flat and well-paved roads.
On February 19, Stage Two of the race that has Philippine Airlines as official airlines partner will again be a technical ride from Sorsogon to Naga City– all of 177.35 kms but marked by the second King of the Mountain point on a deceptive climb on Tiwi’s hilly coastal road entering Camarines Sur via Sagnay town.
Stage Three on Feb 20 , the route starts in Naga City to Daet Camarines Norte. And for the first time in Philippine Tour history, Tigao town plays a major role as a turning point for the race which carries the theme for 2017 “Eight’s Amazing” with MVP Sports Foundation, Smart Communications and Petron as principal sponsors.
Stamina and mental toughness will confront the riders on their quest for the coveted title as the Stage Four (Feb 21) is the longest at 207.35 kms marked by a Category 2 climb over another enchanting Quezon landmark Atimonan’s Tatlong Eme.
Legendary cyclist, Paquito Rivas, 1979 Tour champion and thrice adjudged “Eagle of the Mountain” and now the race technical director said that teams that have prepared, trained well will have the edge and the sudden uphill climbs in the so-called Talong Eme will spell the difference for the title of this race which has its humble beginning in 1955, then popularly known as “Tour of Luzon.” Primo Agatep/PNA – northboundasia.com