Ronda Pilipinas cycling race set Feb. 8 to 27 (Sports)

January 20, 2015 11:53 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 20 (PNA) — The Ronda Pilipinas, the biggest and richest cycling race in the Philippines, will go youth-based, All-Filipino and nationwide as it hits the road from Feb. 8 to 27 starting in Butuan City down South and passing through the Visayas before ending in mountaintop Baguio up North.

Now on its fifth staging, the LBC-sponsored bicycle road race has done away with the old practice of letting the participating teams form their squads by practically opening the race to everyone with Qualifying Rounds in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon.

The Mindanao qualifying round is scheduled Feb. 8 to 9 in Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Tubod in Lanao del Norte and Dipolog, the Visayas qualifying leg is from Feb. 11 to 12 in Dumaguete, Sipalay and Bacolod and the Luzon elimination is from Feb. 15 and 16 Antipolo City and Tarlac,.

About 100 riders will qualify from the three qualifying races and into the Championship round in Luzon where they will join the 2014 Ronda Pilipinas Champion, Reimon Lapaza of Butuan City, Asian Cycling Championship-bound national cycling team headed by Mark Galedo and Ronald Oranza and a9-man composite European team composed of mostly Danish cyclists in a battle for the top purse worth Php1 million courtesy of LBC.

Ronda Pilipinas Executive Project Director Moe Chulani said that apart from a different format, this year's edition will focus on discovering, tapping and developing young riders while giving unknown riders a chance to compete against the country's best.

"This year, we've veered away from the old practice of allowing teams to get their own cyclists by opening Ronda Pilipinas to anyone who has the guts and the heart to show their real mettle," said Chulani.

"Of course, the main goal is to get our young riders to compete and hopefully we can discover some and tap and train them for our national team as well as helping PhilCycling's renewed focus on grassroot development," he added.

True enough, Jack Yabut, Ronda administration director, said Ronda Pilipinas is encouraging talented Junior riders aged 17 to 18 years old to participate.

"We're trying to draw for young talents particularly the 17-18 age group. Of course, if they join, they will have their own specific rules to protect them. Overall, we want to unearth the talent out there," said Yabut.

Presented by LBC and major partner the MVP Sports Foundation and backed by Maynilad, NLEX, Standard Insurance and Radio1 Solutions and sanctioned by PhilCycling headed by Tagaytay Congressman Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino, the race starts with the Mindanao qualies starting with the Butuan-Cagayan de Oro Stage One and concluding with a Tubod-Dipolog Stage Two.

It will proceed to the Visayas qualifiers unfolding with the Dumaguete-Sipalay Stage One and ending with the Bacolod-Bacolod Stage Two before going to Luzon for the Antipolo-Antipolo and Tarlac-Tarlac two stages.

And then the Championship round.

It starts with the Laguna Stage One criterium to be followed by the Calamba-Lucena Stage Two, Lucena-Antipolo Stage Three, Bulacan-Tarlac Stage Four, Tarlac-Dagupan Stage Five, Dagupan-Baguio Stage Six, the Sto Tomas Hill Stage Seven Individual Time Trial and, finally, the Baguio Stage Eight criterium.

Chulani said this year's edition will cover 2,015 kilometers of flat roads and uphill climbs.

"It's a combination of both. Overall, this year's route is as exciting as the past Ronda Pilipinas editions," he said.

Interested parties may get their registration form online at Ronda Pilipinas' official pagebook page, https://www.facebook.com/RondaPilipinas, or aspirants may register a day or two hours before Qualifying Race Day for just Php1,000 per entry per Stage. (PNA)

CTB/JFM/PR

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