LBC Ronda qualifier blasts off Wednesday
DUMAGUETE CITY—The Ronda Pilipinas 2015 presented by LBC kicks off here Wednesday with a three-stage Visayas qualifier in this picturesque coastal city in Negros Oriental.
Aspiring riders from Visayas and Mindanao will dispute 54 elite slots and four junior berths for the championship round on Feb. 22-27.
The eight-stage championship race unfolds in Greenfield City, Sta. Rosa, Laguna, and ends in high-altitude Baguio City.
Those who fail to make it in the Visayas will get another chance in a two-stage qualifier in Luzon on Feb. 16 in Antipolo City and Feb. 17 in Tarlac.
A total of 34 spots (30 elite and four juniors) are up for grabs in the Luzon qualifying round.
“Ronda has produced a lot of elite cyclists through the years, most of them comprise our national team now,” said Ronda executive director Moe Chulani.
Defending champion Riemon Lapaza of Butuan City, the nine-man national team led by 2012 winner Mark Galedo, and a composite European team composed mainly of Danish riders have already been seeded to the championship stage.
Backing up Galedo, Ronald Oranza, Junrey Navarro, Rustom Lim and George Oconer Jr., who will use the event as part of their preparation for the Singapore Southeast Asian Games in June.
Chulani said they expect over a hundred participants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to join the qualifiers.
Stage One will be a 172.7-km Dumaguete-Sipalay race, Stage 2 is a 157.8-km out-and-back ride in Bacolod City and nearby towns and the final lap is a tour from Bacolod to Cadiz City on Friday.
Ronda will then travel up North for the two-stage Luzon qualifiers with a 138.9-km race in Tarlac City on Feb. 16 and a 102.5-km stage in Antipolo on Feb. 17.
The race is being supported by major sponsors the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Mitsubishi and minor sponsors Cannondale, Standard Insurance, Tech1 Corp., Maynilad and NLEX and sanctioned by PhilCycling under Cavite Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino with TV5 and Sports Radio as media partners.
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