MANILA, Philippines—A grueling and untested route awaits the veteran riders vying for the crown in the 2012 Le Tour de Filipinas slated April 14 to 17.
Santy Barnachea, Arnel Quirimit and Lloyd Reynante lead local cycling’s big guns against champion bets from at least nine countries in the four-lap race set to kick off at Sta. Ana, Tuguegarao City.
“I think this will be the most challenging race we’ll have in the last three years of the meet,” said Air21 president Jerry Jara in the PSA Forum Tuesday at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
The event, sanctioned by the Union International Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will head to Cauayan City, Isabela (Stage 2), Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya (Stage 3) before winding up in Bayombong, Baguio (Stage 4) for a total distance of 502 km.
“This is a new route that hasn’t been tried even in local races,” said Gary Cayton, head of organizer Dynamic Outsource Solutions Inc.
“It’s actually not about the distance, it’s about the capacity of the riders to compete. Imagine the riders racing at the hottest time of the year which is summer, at the hottest place in the Philippines.”
Japan’s Aisan Racing Team, Uzbekistan Suren Team and Malaysia’s Terengganu Cycling Team lead the foreign cast from Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Netherlands and Chinese-Taipei. Rahim Emami of Iran ruled last year’s edition.