To say last year’s result was a heartbreaker for Daniel Whitehouse could be seen as a massive understatement.
The overall leader through the first three legs, the British saw his 23-second edge after stage three go up in smoke as he lost the individual crown to eventual winner Jai Crawford by 28 seconds.
This time, Whitehouse is out for redemption.
Now representing Interpro Stradalli Cycling Team of Japan, the 23-year-old aims to nab his second UCI Category 2.2 race as he banners the favorites for the 9th Le Tour de Filipinas, set to open on Sunday.
Also in the field are 2014 winner Mark Galedo and teammates Marcelo Felipe and Rustom Lim of 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines, Jan Paul Morales and Ronald Oranza of Standard Insurance-Navy, and the famed Lloyd Lucien Reynante of Bike Extreme Philippines.
Stage One of the Philippine Tour will see 85 cyclists from 17 teams—six local and 11 international—start from Liwasang Aurora inside Quezon Memorial Circle, go to Elliptical Road and Quezon Avenue, before traversing through the historic Edsa for the first time in history, toward Monumento in Caloocan City to cover the race’s neutral zone that covers 9.5 kilometers.
“Edsa is historic in many ways, but with the traffic conditions on the highway, especially at rush hour—and the concerns over clean air—it would be a milestone for the Le Tour de Filipinas to expand its advocacy on the major thoroughfare,” said PhilCycling chairman Alberto Lina.
Kicking off at 8 a.m., the 157.50-km stage will also go through McArthur Highway, the main road connecting Metro Manila to the north, before being welcomed to Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, for the finish line.
Stage Two continues on Monday where riders start from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, for another 157.90 km with a grueling climb over Dalton Pass, before the cyclists take on the killer 185.20-km Stage 3 from Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, to Lingayen, Pangasinan.
The race hits fever pitch on Wednesday for Stage 4 which will be a 154.65-km ascent from Lingayen to Baguio City via Kennon Road.
Teams also joining this year’s edition are Philippine National Team, Team CCN Philippines, Go For Gold, Terrenganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Pishgaman Cycling Team (Iran), Nice Devo Cycling Team (Mongolia), Oliver’s Real Food Racing (Australia), Korail Cycling Team (South Korea), Team Sapura Cycling Team (Malaysia), Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall Cycling Team (China), KFC Cycling Team (Indonesia), Uijeongbu Cycling Team (South Korea), and Forca Amskins Racing (Malaysia).
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