Sta. Ana up north in Cagayan is now a bevy of cycling activity and notwithstanding the scare of debris that may fall from a North Korean missile that was launched yesterday, it’s all systems go on Saturday, April 14, for the 2012 edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas.
This is the first time in Tour history that the kickoff leg of the country’s longest running outdoor sporting event would fire off near the northern tip of Luzon.
“Everything’s a go and we are all ready to get this race on the road,” said Gary Cayton, president of race organizer Dynamic Outsource Solutions, Inc.
Bert Lina, the godfather of Philippine cycling and chairman of Air21, the Le Tour presentor, will arrive in Sta. Ana Friday to grace the opening ceremonies and welcome dinner presented by Cagayan Rep. Jackie Enrile, who counts cycling as one of his favorite sports.
All 16 teams — 11 foreign and five local — have all been accounted for with most of the Filipino riders opting to ride their bikes from Nueva Viscaya to warm up for the race.
Local teams Go21, Mail & More, Smart-PhilCycling National Team, LPGMA-American Vinyl and Kia are all geared up to give the foreigners a run for their money in the four-stage race held in partnership with Smart and supported by Foton and Jinbei.
Smart Communications Inc. has again thrown its support behind the Le Tour, a classic example of its commitment to help in sports development.
“Unknown to many, cycling is the world’s No. 2 sport next to football in terms of viewership. Part of Smart’s commitment to sports is to support the Philippine cycling team with the hope that we become a world class cycling country,” said Noel Lorenzana, Smart Division Head for Wireless Consumer.
The Dutch Global team from the Netherlands has tested part of the route for stage one — and most especially the weather conditions which hit 35 degrees Celsius yesterday — after it arrived ahead of the other foreigners last Tuesday.
Also in town are continental teams CCN also from the Netherlands, Aisan Racing Team from Japan, OCBC from Singapore, Uzbekistan Suren from Uzbekistan, Action from Chinese Taipei and the vaunted TPT or Tabriz Petrochemical from Iran, and club teams Plan B (Australia), PureBlack Racing (New Zealand) and Colossi Miche (Indonesia), which tabbed a Filipino as its fifth rider, Merculio Ramos. The Indonesian national squad is also testing its mettle in the race.
The Le Tour is also supported by official wear WetShop, Maynilad, Nague Malic Magnawa & Associates Customs Brokers, Wow Videoke, UBEMedia, IWMI, Airphil Express and dzRH.
Saturday’s Stage One is a 155-km ride from Sta. Ana to Tuguegarao City.
Stage Two on Sunday will be 110 kms from Tuguegarao to Cauayan City, Stage Three will be 102 kms from Cauayan City to Bayombong City and Stage Four will be the 153-km climb on the so-called “Northern Alps” in the Cordilleras from Bayombong to Burnham Park in Baguio City.
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