Thirty Filipinos led by national champion Jan Paul Morales will mix it up with 50 international riders in the ninth Le Tour de Filipinas that begins Sunday at Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City and will finish at Burnham Park in Baguio City on Wednesday.
Morales, leader of the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance squad, teams up with Ronald Oranza, a fellow veteran rider.
There are 17 teams in the Le Tour de Filipinas this time, up two from the traditional 15-squad roster of the 4-stage International Cycling Union race.
The other Filipinos to watch are Marcelo Felipe, Rustom Lim and 2014 champion Mark John Lexer Galedo of 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines; Mark Julius Bonzo and Alfie Catalan of Team CCN Philippines; Ronnel Hualda and Boots Ryan Cayubit of Go For Gold; George Oconer and Jerry Aquino Jr. of the Philippine National Team; and Lloyd Lucien Reynante, who is coming out of retirement to lead Bike Extreme Philippines with Chris Joven.
The foreign teams include Terrenganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Pishgaman Cycling Team (Iran), Nice Devo Cycling Team (Mongolia), Interpro Cycling Academy (Japan), Oliver’s Real Food Racing (Australia), Korail Cycling Team (South Korea), Team Sapura Cycling Team (Malaysia), Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall Cycling Team (China), KFC Cycling Team (Indonesia) and Uijeongbu Cycling Team (South Korea).
Stage 1 on Sunday will cover 157.50 kilometers from the Liwasang Aurora at the Quezon Memorial Circle to Nueva Ecija’s capital of Palayan City, while Stage 2 will bring the cyclists from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, on Monday covering 157.90 kilometers with a climb over Dalton Pass.
Tuesday’s Stage 3 is the longest at 185.20 kilometers from Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, to Lingayen, Pangasinan, while Stage 4 will be 154.65 kilometers from Lingayen to Baguio City with a treacherous and back-breaking climb on Kennon Road.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.