CYCLING

Carino faces tough field in Le Tour de Filipinas repeat bid

By ABS-CBN Sports on May 28, 2019 08:07 PM

Le Tour de Filipinas' five-stage 10th edition kicks off on June 14.

Filipino rider El Joshua Carino will defend his crown against 74 other world-class cyclists representing 15 solid teams in the five-stage 2019 Le Tour de Filipinas that will hit the road on June 14 to 18.

The Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance rider Carino, who beat his racing heroes former champion Mark Galedo and local race star Jan Paul Morales last year in the four-stage race that concluded in Baguio City, rides south with the strong field in this International Cycling Union (UCI) Category 2.2 event, which is celebrating its 10th year.

“It’s the 10th year and like the previous editions, the riders will face the challenges the elements offer, thus, squeezing out the best of the best in this sports spectacle on two wheels,” said Le Tour chairman Donna Lina on Tuesday during the press launch of the race at Resorts World Manila.

A total of 822.20 kilometers of distance will be covered in the race to be participated by riders representing more than a dozen nationalities.

The race kicks off on June 14 with a short yet demanding 129.50 kms. Stage One on an out-and-back course marked with several climbs in Tagaytay City.

The entourage will then transfer to Lucena City in Quezon where the cyclists will spend the night before Stage Two on June 15 that will be a long 194.90 kms. race from Pagbilao, a first-time host of the Tour’s departure, to Daet in Camarines Norte.

Stage Three on June 16 will be a 183.70 kms. pedal from Daet to Legazpi City while Stage Four will cover 176 kms. from Legazpi City via Sorsogon and Gubat and back to the Albay capital.   

The final stage is also an out-and-back race in Legazpi but this time it will be via Donsol in Sorsogon for a total of 145.80 kms. in a crucial leg where the cyclists will have to endure pedaling over rolling hills and strong winds.

“It's much interesting this time because our preparation is something else. We are celebrating 10 years of cycling in the Philippines,” said PhilCycling chairman Bert Lina of the forerunner of the fabled Philippine Tour that took several names liked the Tour or Luzon, Marlboro Tour, Tour Pilipinas and Padyak Pinoy. “There are lot of surprises waiting for all of us.”

Carino and PHI Navy-Standard Insurance, tasked to don the national colors, will also defend their team title.

Three other local squads – continental teams 7-Eleven Cliqq Air21 Roadbike Philippines, Go for Gold and Bike X Philippines – will make their home stand in the race that not only provides Olympic qualifying points for the 2020 Tokyo Games but also gives a peek into the Pinoy riders’ strength and mettle ahead of the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.  

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