The Le Tour de Filipinas returns for its eighth edition next month this February virtually the same route south of Luzon and offering the same, if not more onerous, challenge over roads with the Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions’ scenic beauty as the backdrop.
But unlike last year, 75 cyclists representing 15 teams—13 foreign continental teams and two local squads—will start in Legazpi City, home to majestic Mayon Volcano, on February 18, and wind up 726.55 kilometers—the event’s total distance—northwards to Lucena City in Quezon Province on February 21.
“For the eighth edition, we decided to reverse the route—from south to north,” said Donna Lina, President of Le Tour organizer UBE Media Inc. “The route is more technical this time because of the gradual upward gradient from Sorsogon to Lucena City.”
With the MVP Sports Foundation, Smart Communications and Petron as principal sponsors of the race also ran by race officials of the PhilCycling led by Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham Tolentino, the Le Tour will embark on a relatively flat 177.35 kms Stage Three on February 20 from Naga City to Daet, Camarines Norte. And for the first time in Philippine Tour history, Tigaon town plays a major role as a turning point for the race which carries the theme for 2017 “Eight’s Amazing.”
Mayor Noel Rosal of Legazpi City is also very excited about the return of Le Tour de Filipinas. “Aside from our Philippine team, the foreign squads will come from South Korea, Japan, China, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Spain, France, England and Australia.
Rosal also added that the bikers will start their race from the City’s Southern Boulevard in Barangay Puro before going to Albay’s various towns and returning to the Boulevard to be able to circle the 360 degrees Mount Mayon Volcano.
Oleg Zemlyakov and his Vino Forever Team are not returning to defend the general classification crown because the 23-year- old from Kazakhstan has since gone up the UCI Road ladder since last year’s edition.
But Frenchman Thomas Lebas, the 2015 winner, was listed on Kinan Cycling Team’s roster for the Category 2.2 race also backed by 3E Logistics, Collab Printing Solutions, Destilleria Limtuaco, Integrated Waste Management, Inc. (IWMI), PLDT, U-Freight Logistics Inc. (UFL), Prudential Guarantee Insurance, Waste and Resources Management Inc. (WARM), Shopinas.com and UBE Express.
The foreign teams are Oliver’s Real Food Racing (Australia), Keyi Look Sport (China), Attaque Team Gusto (Chinese Taipei), Kinan Cycling, Team Ukyo and Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team (Japan), Cartucho.Es Pro Cycling (Kuwait), CCN Cycling Team (Laos), Terenganu Cycling (Malaysia), LX Pro Cycling and Korail Cycling Team (South Korea), Nice Cycling( Switzerland) and Uzbekistan National Team. Carrying the fight for the Philippines are the 7 Eleven Sava Road Bike Philippines continental team and the PhilCycling National Team.
Le tour De Filipinas is the only International Cycling Union Road Race in the Philippines duly sanctioned by the Union of Cyclists International, Philippine Cycling Federation and Asian Cycling Federation as a yearly professional road bicycle race.