The KSPO Cycling Team of Korea flew in as an early bird on Holy Thursday for the 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas, while two other foreign squads followed suit on Friday with the rest of the 15-team field expected to gather in Clark, Pampanga two days before the International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour race hits the road on Monday.
According to 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas team coordinator Alma Lumibao, the Koreans made sure that they arrived early for the fifth edition of the race presented by Air21 as an advocacy of cycling godfather and PhilCycling chairman Bert Lina.
The Koreans are one of 10 UCI continental teams—professional squads that race year-round not only in Asia but all over the world with their riders earning ranking points to land berths in the Olympics and World Championships—racing in the country’s sole UCI-calendared race.
"Two club teams—Atilla Cycling Club of Mongolia and Track Team Astana of Kazakhstan—also arrived today [yesterday] on Good Friday—and are now in Clark and like the Koreans, already shook off weariness from their flights by doing warm-up rides around the export zone,: said Lumibao, executive director of PhilCycling during Lina’s term as federation president.
The 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas, also supported by Smart, NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX, BCDA, Petron, Victory Liner and M. Lhuillier, kicks off with the 160-kilometer Stage One from Clark to Olongapo City on Monday; 170-km Stage Two from Olongapo City to Cabanatuan City on Tuesday; 146.6-km Stage Three from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong (Nueva Viscaya) on Wednesday; and the decisive 134-km Stage Four from Bayombong to Baguio City via Kayapa Road and Ambuklao on Thursday.
Due to arrive on Black Saturday are continental teams Aisan Racing Team and Team Uyko of Japan, PT Pegasus Cycling Team of Indonesia, Terengganu Cycling Team of Malaysia, CCN Cycling Team of Brunei, OCBC Cycling Team of Singapore, Polygon Sweet Nice of Ireland, Tabriz Shahrdari Ranking of Iran and 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines, as well as club teams Satalyst Giant Racing Team of Australia, Track Team Astana of Kazakhstan and Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance of sportsman Ernesto "Judes" Echauz and the United Arab Emirates’ national team.