MANILA, Philippines - The 2013 LBC Ronda Pilipinas ushers in the year in Philippine sports with a 16-stage, 21-day, 2,200km journey on wheels featuring a select cast of veterans and upcoming superstars and offering the richest purse ever of P7.5 million.
The cycling extravaganza, staged for the third straight year by LBC Express, Inc, the leading courier and money transfer firm, hits the road Jan. 12 with the Zamboanga City kick-off stage.
"We want the LBC Ronda Pilipinas to be the first major sports event every year," said LBC Ronda Pilipinas communications director Jocel de Guzman, referring to the holding of the event in January for the first time instead of in the summer months.
"We also want Ronda Pilipinas to be part of the major festivals in the country such as the Panagbenga in Baguio and Sinulog in Cebu as part of the objective to show the world the sports tourism potential of the country," he added.
From Zamboanga the 96 cyclists, grouped this year into 12 teams, traverse key cities and towns in Mindanao, then in the Visayas and finally in Luzon, from the Bicol Region to the metropolis all the way up to Baguio where it ends Feb. 1 with the Baguio criterium.
This year, the 96 riders were grouped into 12 teams – eight in each team – instead of into 16 teams of six cyclists per team during the first two editions of the tour.
While the individual prizes remain the same – P1M for the champion, P500,000 for second and P250,000 for third all the way to 20th place worth P10,000 – only the top six of the 12 competing teams will receive prizes.
The champion gets P1 million, second P500,000, third P250,000, fourth P100,000, fifth P90,00 and sixth P80,000.
The LBC Ronda Pilipinas is staged by LBC Express, Inc. and sponsored by Total Philippines, MVP Sports Foundation, Jimbei, Smart Communications, ICOMM IDAS, Standard Insurance, Sunstar, Maynilad, and NLEX.
The organizers said the LBC Ronda Pilipinas has the full support of the Philippine National Police and all the local government units that will host the start and finish in each of the 16 stages.