Baguio to test Ronda riders anew-A A +A
Thursday, January 9, 2014
BAGUIO City’s uphill roads are once again seen to test the mettle of at least 100 bikers from all over the world for the fourth staging of Ronda Pilipinas which kicks-off February 1-16.
Some 84 cyclist battle their way to the top of the country’s premiere cycling race, Ronda Pilipinas International, covering 14 stages including three gruelling stages in the Summer Capital that would cover at least 2,000 kilometers starting from Quezon City.
Ronda Pilipinas International race director Ric Rodriguez said the transition from local to international was a part of the program of event.
“Actually the intention of converting it into an international event is a part of the 10 year program ng Ronda Pilipinas even during its earlier years,” said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez also mentioned the program keeps helping and developing local cyclists in pursuit of entering international races.
“With Ronda going international, we can keep our cyclist open to the eyes of foreign teams where they can benefit at the same time compete,” Rodriguez said.
“For the moment since this is the first time to invite a lot of foreign competitors, talagang inaayos natin in preparation to be really ready sa following years,” Rodriguez added.
Global Cycling Team Holland leads the strong international field that includes Japan’s Matrix Powertag, Chinese Taipei’s Team Gusto, Iran’s Ayandeh Continental Team and Thailand’s CNN Cycling Team.
Also competing are Uzbekistan’s national squad and Malaysia’s crack national team.
Reigning Ronda Pilipinas king Irish Valenzuela will spearhead the local challenge along with 2012 champ Mark Galedo, who is fresh from a gold-medal performance in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Burma (Myanmar).
Both will represent separate Road Bike 7-Eleven squads in the team competition of the 14-stage tour which covers 1,776.1 kilometers.
Ronald Oranza, a Southeast Asian Games Games bronze medalist, will spearhead Team PLDT, which is also rated highly with its roster of national under-23 riders.
The other local teams are Philippine Army, Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, Team Cebu and Team Mindanao Cycleline Butuan.
A total of P7.6 million peso cash prize is at stake with the best Pinoy rider to gain 600 thousand and the team winner getting 400 thousand. Lap winners, red jersey, King of the Mountain and Rookie of the Year will also be awarded.
Organizers look forward to the new berth of the event which started back in 2011 and backed by LBC, MVP Sports Foundation, Maynilad, PLDT and Mitsubishi.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 10, 2014.