MANILA, Philippines - Over 350 riders from all over the country launched their campaign for cycling’s biggest, richest event – the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2013 – yesterday on the first day of the two-day national trials in Tarlac City.
Organizers of the annual race, which will be held Jan. 12-Feb 1, 2013, said last year’s top 3 finishers, led by Mark John Lexer Galedo, are already seeded into the tour, while the remaining slots will be disputed in today’s deciding race to complete the 96-man, 16-team field.
At stake in the 2013 edition is a cash pot of P7.5 million, with the individual champion receiving P1 million in the nationwide tour which runs through over 30 key cities in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon in 16 stages kicking off in Zamboanga City and ending in Baguio City.
Yesterday’s race was a 175.5 km massed start that took the riders through towns and cities of Tarlac Province, starting at the Tarlac Provincial Sports Complex in Tarlac City and ending at the Monasterio de Tarlac.
Riders within 10 percent of the first placer advanced to today’s final race, a 47.5km individual time trial from the Tarlac Provincial Sports Complex through towns of Tarlac and back at the starting line.
The veterans of the annual tour, now on its third year, are expected to make one more fling with glory in their fading years and get a crack at the individual prizes spread out to 20th place as well as special prizes for mountain king, sprint king, individual and overall stage winners.
They will, however, face tough opposition from rising stars who comprise half of the initial field of 350 riders who have started training since the last LBC Ronda edition barely four months back.
Team V-Mobile will be on hand to defend its team championship but other squads, led by national amateur riders, which have been training regularly as a team, will be all out to challenge for the team crown worth P1 million.