Kennon lap returns to Le Tour next year
THE LE Tour de Filipinas will mark the 60th anniversary next year of multi-stage cycling in the country by retracing a treacherous and lung-busting route that served as highlight stage in previous events.
In the final stage going up to Baguio City, the expected field of 75 riders from 15 teams will try to conquer the punishing Kennon Road—an 18-kilometer serpentine climb that was bypassed in favor of the less punishing Marcos Highway.
“We are going back to the Tour’s signature stage that frustrated numerous pretenders and crowned dozens of champions who have gone down in history as our heroes on two wheels,” said LtDF chair Alberto Lina.
The four-day race hits the road on Feb. 1 with an out-and-back ride in Balanga, Bataan covering 126 km followed by a race mostly on the flatlands of Bataan going to Iba, Zambales, (153.75 km).
“This is aptly a celebration of the Tour’s 60th anniversary and all these cyclists—both local and foreign—deserve a chance to etch their names in diamond,” said Lina.
Stage 3 on Feb. 3 will again favor sprinters as the race proceeds to Lingayen, Pangasinan, (149.34 km) before the surviving cyclists take on Kennon Road going to the country’s Summer Capital (101 km).
The International Cycling Union (UCI), the world governing body for cycling, has scheduled the LtDF in February to conform with the Asian Tour calendar.
The Tour was first held in 1954 through the Manila-Vigan race with the late Antonio Arzala emerging as the inaugural champion. June Navarro