Cycling: Le Tour rescheduled for SEA Games preps, Bicol rehab

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 02 2019 04:36 PM

Cycling: Le Tour rescheduled for SEA Games preps, Bicol rehab 1
El Joshua Carino of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance will have to wait to defend his Le Tour crown. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines – The organizer of Le Tour de Filipinas on Wednesday announced that it is seeking to reschedule the race's 10th edition in its effort to join preparations for the country's hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Moreover, they also aim to allow adequate time for the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken provinces in the Bicol region, which will host several stages of the race.

UBE Media Inc. president Donna Lina said the Le Tour was originally scheduled for February 17 to 21 — this time as a five-stage race from the previous four stages to level up in its first decade.

However, with the country hosting the SEA Games from November 30 to December 11 this year, Lina has also stressed the Le Tour's role in helping prepare the country's top riders for the multi-sport regional competition.

Thus, UBE Media has written the International Cycling Union (UCI), through the Asian Cycling Confederation and PhilCycling under president Rep. Abraham Tolentino and chairman Bert Lina, to move the race to June 14 to 18.

"The Le Tour organization wanted to help harness our cyclists to their best possible condition in time for the SEA Games," said Lina. "And because of the recent calamity that struck Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and the rest of the Bicol region, it has become more imperative that we postpone the race."

Albay, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon were declared under a state of calamity because of tropical depression Usman, which caused landslides and massive flooding in areas where the race will pass through.

The town of Sagnay, in particular, was badly hit.

"In as much as we are ecstatic to celebrate 10 years of the Le Tour, we are one in prayers that our countrymen in the Bicol Region recover fast and well from the calamity," said Lina.

This is not the first time that Le Tour needed to be rescheduled. Just last year, the race was moved from February to late May after the eruption of Mayon Volcano in January.

This year's race will start in Tagaytay City, and will pass through Batangas, Quezon, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay and Sorsogon. Legaspi City will host the finish of the five-stage Category 2.2 UCI Asia Tour race.

June will be a busy month for Philippine cycling with the conduct of the PhilCycling National Championships for Road, MTB and BMX and a proposed UCI National Commissaires' Course for the three disciplines.

The Le Tour and national championships will principally cap trials for the selection of athletes for the SEA Games.

El Joshua Carino of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance is expected to defend his crown and will be racing alongside 2014 winner Mark John Lexer Galedo of continental team 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines.

Newly-minted continental team Go For Gold and the National Under-23 Team of the PhilCycling are also seeing action.

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