MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) announced recently its full support to the 2013 Ronda Pilipinas, the country’s biggest and richest road cycling race slated Jan. 12-Feb. 1, 2013.
PNP Chief Nicanor Bartolome made the commitment in a meeting with race officials of the event sponsored for the third straight year by LBC Express, Inc., the leading courier firm.
The LBC Ronda Pilipinas, a revival of the Tour ng Pilipinas in the 70s to the late 90s, covers 2,000 kilometers spread over 16 stages, through over 30 key cities, kicking off with the prologue in Zamboanga City on Jan. 12 and ending with the Baguio leg on Feb. 1.
At stake is a total cash pot of P7.5 million, with P1 million going each to the individual and team champion. Out to defend their title in a field of 96 riders grouped into 16 teams after the October eliminations are individual champion Mark John Lexer Galedo and team winner Team V-Mobile.
To ensure the safety and security of the nationwide bike race, the PNP will be part of the motor marshal entourage of the event, from Zamboanga in Mindanao to its Visayas and Luzon stops, said Ronda Pilipinas protocol officer Louie Arcilla and race director Ric Rodriguez.
Among cycling's big names vying for individual and special stage prizes are veterans Joey Calderon, Cris Joven, Merculio Ramos, Santy Barnachea, Ronald Gorantes, Rhyan Tanguilig, Bernard Luzon, Warren Davadilla and Alfie Catalan.
Over 400 cyclists from all over the country competed in the national trials in Tarlac last October for a chance of making the 93-man final roster that will join last year's top three finishers who were seeded into the Tour proper.
The individual prizes are scaled down to 20th place with special prizes for every stage winner and overall leader, king of the mountain and sprint king, while the team competition offers prizes for all 16 participating squads.