MANILA, Philippines – The fifth edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas started at Clark, Pampanga early Monday morning, with 15 teams from different countries competing in the race.
Teams from Australia, Kazakhstan, Iran, Mongolia, the United Arab Emirates, Brunei, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Ireland, Malaysia, Japan and the Philippines are participating, with each team composed of five riders.
“Ang purpose nito is to promote ang cycling sa mga tao,” said Alberto Lina, chairman of the Philippine Cycling Federation.
The riders who joined Le Tour are all professionals who have had experience in other cycling events.
“Di basta-basta na nagising lang sila na magaling na ang mga cyclists natin,” said Gary Cayton, a Tour veteran. “Dumman ang mga ‘yan sa training.”
Jonifer Ravina, the 2012 champion, is confident of his chances to win this year’s edition despite going up against foreign cyclists.
“Wala naman po sa laki ng katawan ‘yan,” said the 32-year-old Ravina.
The Le Tour de Filipinas will have four stages, and the cyclists will travel 161.1 kilometers over four days.
“Mahirap siya this time, lalo na ‘yung Stage Four, which is mountain cycling,” said event producer Donna May Lina-Flavier.
The cyclists will go through Dinalupihan, Balanga, Morong and Olongapo City in Stage One of the Le Tour. -- Report from Trisha Mostoles, ABS-CBN News