MANILA, Philippines – There will only be four stages, but the Le Tour de Filipinas is still set to hold its biggest edition yet with 17 teams composed of 85 riders pedaling over four regions, seven provinces, 10 cities, and 50 municipalities from May 20 to 23.
Stage 1 of the ninth edition of the Le Tour starts at the Quezon City Memorial Circle, with the 17 squads set to race to the Nueva Ecija finish in the capital of Palayan City. They will ride through Valenzuela City and seven towns in Bulacan, crossing the North Luzon Expressway in San Simon, before passing through three more Pampanga and six Nueva Ecija municipalities.
Stage 2 on May 21 will send off the riders from Cabantuan City again over Palayan City, and four more Nueva Ecija towns before reaching the Balete Summit. The race then enters three Nueva Viscaya towns before the Bayombong finish for a distance of 157.9 kilometers.
On May 22, Stage 3 will trace the same route, this time from the Bambang start. The cyclists then negotiate the 184-km stage through Lupao, before getting a warm welcome in Umingan, Pangasinan.
While in Stage 3, five towns and the city of Urdaneta in Pangsainan will witness the race, which is expected to wind up with another rousing finish at the Provincial Capitol in Lingayen.
The decisive 154.65-km Stage 4 on May 23 will send off the cyclists at the Pangasinan Provincial Capitol, with the route covering flat rounds in one city and 10 more towns in the province, before making an ascent in Rosario and Tuba in La Union, for the ever treacherous Kennon Road climb.
The race will then make a dramatic finish at Burnham Park.
"The Le Tour de Filipinas is not only about our sport of cycling, but about raising awareness about the sport over as much scope as possible," said UBE Media Inc. president Donna Lina. "We thank the local government units for their warmth and enthusiasm toward the race."
This year's race is expected to be decided by the Kennon Road climb, a Hors Category ascent.
"Stage 4 will be the crowning stage for this year's tour," said national commissaire Sunshine Joy Mendoza. "In the history of the Tour, champions are made or broken by Kennon Road."
For the first time in the history of the Le Tour de Filipinas, the race crisscrosses through four regions – the National Capital Region, Central Luzon, the Ilocos Region, and Cagayan Valley.
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