MANILA – Le Tour de Filipinas returns in April with another highlight stage that would challenge the speed-riding skills and endurance on flat and well-paved roads of 75 foreign and local riders.
The cyclists will see action in the fifth edition of the four-day International Cycling Union event on the Asia Tour calendar.
To be called the “Triple-X Stage” that will serve as a signature race for new Le Tour de Filipinas organizer Jerry Jara, the cyclists from 15 teams will take off from Subic and will tackle three highways--
Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX),
North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), and the brand new Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).
The finish line will be in Cabanatuan City.
The stretch covering 182.5 kilometers will be the second stage of the Le Tour. For its 2014 edition, it has forged principal partnerships with AIR21, SCTEX, NLEX, TPLEX, Smart and Victory Liner.
“It’s green and go for the Fifth Le Tour de Filipinas. Preparations are in place and we are all excited with how the complexion of the race would be this time with the Triple-X Stage,” said Jara, the AIR21 president who was designated by cycling godfather Alberto Lina to organize this year’s Le Tour.
This year's tour will cover a total of 616 kilometers.
From the northern tip of Luzon in the two previous editions, the 2014 Le Tour goes down to Central Luzon for its kickoff stage, a 152.9 kilometers ride from Clark in Pampanga to Olongapo City on April 21.
Stage Two marks history through the Olongapo City to Cabanatuan City route via SCTEX and TPLEX.
Stage Three on April 23 will be from Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, one of the hotbeds of cycling in the country, over the foothills of the Sierra Madre on to Dalton Pass to the Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya finish covering 146.6 kms.
And then the stage the Le Tour is known for—the “Northern Alps” or Stage Four from Bayombong to Baguio City over a 132.7-km roller-coaster ride on the Cordillera’s through Kayapa Highway and Ambuklao Dam.
Competing in the 2014 Le Tour are foreign teams:
Satalyst Giant Racing Team (Australia),
CCN Cycling Team (Brunei),
Pegasus Continental Team (Indonesia),
TSR Continental Team (Iran),
Polygon Sweet Nice (Ireland),
Aisan Racing Team (Japan),
Team Ukyo (Japan),
Track Team Astana (Kazakhstan),
Terengganu Pro Asia Cycling Team (Malaysia),
Attila Cycling Club (Mongolia),
OCBC Singapore Continental Cycling Team (Singapore), and
UAE Cycling Team (UAE).
The local challenge will be led by 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines and Standard Insurance Cycling Team composed of the Philippine Navy.
Le Tour de Filipinas is presented by AIR21 in partnership with Smart and Victory Liner;
road partners North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Haima, Chevrolet, Jinbei, Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival;
fuel partner Petron;
drink partner Gatorade and Maynilad;
insurance provider Prudential Guarantee;
hotel partners Microtel Cabanatuan and Fontana Leisure Parks;
retail partner AIR21 Stores;
sanitation by Integrated Waste Management, Inc.;
apparel by 188 Import & Export;
medical support by the Philippine National Red Cross;
host communities Clark Development Corporation, Angeles City, Olongapo City, Cabanatuan, and Baguio City.
To send off the Le Tour, a side event, the AIR21 Executive Cycling Race will be flagged off also on April 21 on an 88-km road race from Clark to Subic.