Ronda Pilipinas 2016 kicks off February 20 in Butuan City
MANILA, Philippines - The Ronda Pilipinas, the biggest cycling race in the Philippines, will hit the road next year with a 3-leg race starting with the Mindanao stages slated for February 20-27 from Butuan City to Cagayan de Oro and Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Now in its sixth edition, Ronda, presented by LBC and sponsored by Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron, Mitsubishi, Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp., Maynilad and Standard Insurance, will hold 3 5-stage legs set in Mindanao in February, the Visayas in March and in Luzon in April.
Going with the international trend, Ronda organizers made new innovations in its forthcoming race by holding a combination of road race, individual time trial and criterium races per leg.
"We need to adapt to the way races are done in the world stage as this project is to groom champions for flag and country," said Ronda sports development head Moe Chulani. "And also, we want each cities, towns and provinces we visit will have a chance to see our riders and our race the whole day."
Chulani also said Ronda remains committed to helping PhilCycling under Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino in its grassroots development program by scraping the country of potential talents and helping them train to become future national team members.
In fact, Ronda, which stakes millions in purses per stage and leg, will have 3 separate overall winners from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon.
"Aside from the open elite division, we still have the Under-23 category because we believe that somewhere out there, there are gems in the rough waiting to be discovered," said Chulani.
Ronda is also tapping 3Q Sports headed by Quin and Jojo Baterna and assisted by Rommel Bobiles, the same people behind the successful Giro de Pilipinas in Subic last October, with an eye of not just helping the sport but also encourage everyone to take up cycling.
"On the side, we're holding some mountain bike race as well as races for executives. Also, we'll be having a community ride for everyone to allow them to get the feel of how it is riding with the Ronda caravan," said Bobiles.
"LBC Sports Devt Corp. feels everyone should have the chance to join Ronda Pilipinas 2016, which is the fourth biggest race in the world in terms of distance covered, not just the elite riders," said Chulani.
"That's why Ronda Pilipinas 2016 will be a bigger and better event where we will have everyone including the executives and amateurs joining us," he added.
Ronda will officially start on February 20 with a road race from Butuan City on back, proceeds with a criterium on the same city the next day and in Cagayn de Oro on February 23, an ITT in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich on Feb. 25 before concluding with another criterium in Malaybalay on February 27.
The Visayas leg is composed of a Stage One criterium in Bago City, Negros Occidental on March 11, Stage Two criterium in Iloilo City on March 13, a Stage 3 road race from Ilolilo to Roxas City on March 15, a Stage 4 criterium and Stage Five ITT both in Roxas on March 17.
Capping Ronda is the Luzon stages consisting of a Stage One criterium at the Paseo in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on April 3, a Stage Two ITT from Talisay to Tagaytay the next day, a Stage Three criterium in Antipolo City on April 6, a Stage Four road race from Dagupan to Baguio on April 8 and a Stage 5 criterium in the City of Pines.
Interested participants may visit Ronda's official Facebook page and download and fill it out and send it to Cycling Pilipinas (LBC SPORTS DEVT. CORP.) c/o Ronda Pilipinas 2016 Secretariat located at Blk. 11 Lot 2 Bagong Calzada, Grenville Subdivision, Brgy. Ususan, Taguig City. – Rappler.com