MANILA, Philippines -- The rider with all-around skill will most likely dominate the 10th edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas, which runs for five stages and hits the road from June 14 to 18.
This, according to national team coaches Reinhardt Gorrantes and Ednalyn Hualda who both believe that this year's Le Tour will favor not just the sprinters and the climbers, but the cyclists who are strong in both terrains.
"There are mountain passes in the race but let us not forget the middle stages which are almost all flat with a slightly reclining gradient," said Gorrantes, head coach of the Philippine National Team composed of the riders from Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance.
Hualda agreed, and noted that Stage 1 and Stage 5 offer challenges for the climbers, but with the long Stage 1, 2 and 3, tactical riding is a must in the race organized by Ube Media Inc. and which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
"It would be a race of strategies," said Hualda. "Like a chess game, you have to ponder your moves to win."
The entire race covers 822.2 kms of paved road down south of Manila.
The Le Tour kicks off on June 14 with a short and demanding 129.5-km Stage 1 on an out-and-back course in Tagaytay City, followed by the 194.9-km Stage 2 on June 15 from Pagbilao in Quezon to Daet in Camarines, Norte.
Stage 3 on June 16 will be 183.7 kms from Daet to Legazpi City and Stage 4 will cover 176 kms from Legazpi City via Sorsogon and Gubat and back to the Albay capital.
Stage 5 will also be out-and-back in Legazpi City but this time it will be via Donsol in Sorsogon for a total of 145.8 kms — a crucial final leg where the cyclists will have to endure pedaling over rolling hills and strong winds.
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