FOR the first time in Philippine tour history, Epifanio de los Santos Avenue—or Edsa—will play a major role as the Le Tour de Filipinas kicks off its ninth edition along the country’s busiest major highway tomorrow.
From the Liwasang Aurora start inside the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City, the 17 teams composed of 85 cyclists will pedal over the Elliptical Road and through Quezon Avenue before negotiating Edsa toward Monumento in Caloocan City for the race’s neutral zone that covers 9.5 kilometers.
Ably assisting the race entourage is the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), headed by Chairman Danilo D. Lim, whose men in blue vowed to control traffic flow without disturbing movement of vehicles.
The 157.50-km Stage 1 to Palayan City of the race copresented by Air21, Cignal and Cargohaus Inc. and organized by Ube Media Inc. will be flagged off at 8 a.m. The race column is expected to complete the Edsa neutral ride under 30 minutes.
“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 Alberto Lina, PhilCycling chairman and the acknowledged godfather of Philippine cycling.
The first of four stages of the International Cycling Union race will also tackle the McArthur Highway, where the major artery that connects Metro Manila to Central and Northern Luzon before the expressways, particularly the North Luzon Expressway, were built.
Once in Palayan City, the entourage will be warmly welcomed by the Nueva Ecija capital’s hospitality under Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas.
Adding interest to the Le Tour de Filipinas are the nonbicycle and noncyclist components of the event.
The entire race entourage consists of 416 personnel—from the cyclists down to the ground crew which takes care of the barriers and gantries—and 129 vehicles (44 motorcycles with a minimum of 400cc displacement, 36 cars/sedans, 39 SUVs/vans, nine trucks and one bus).
Stage 2 on Monday will bring the cyclists from Cabanatuan City to Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, covering 157.90 kms with a climb over Dalton Pass.
On Tuesday Stage 3 is the longest at 185.20 kms from Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, to Lingayen, Pangasinan, and finally, Stage 4 will be 154.65 kms from Lingayen to Baguio City via Kennon Road.
- Published in Other Sports