The search for the country’s future cycling stars continues, as the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 edition will hold its first of two qualifying races on November 6 that will also coincide with the LBC Giro de Pilipinas in Subic Bay.
A total of 30 riders will make it to the culminating event, the biggest cycling race in the Philippines slated to start up North in the Ilocos region on February 4 and end in Iloilo City on March 4 next year.
“The top 30 cyclists in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas Subic qualifying race will make it to the main Ronda event in February next year,” said Jingo Hervas, who is on his second year as race director.
Hervas said those who couldn’t make the cut could still qualify during the final qualifier in Bacolod City on Dec. 4, which will also be held simultaneously with the Dans 360 Beynte bike event.
The 60 qualifiers will then join the more or less 50-man pool that have already automatically qualified for joining last year’s race.
Hervas, however, reminded the outright qualifiers to register first to secure their spots.
“Those who are automatically in, they should claim their slots by registering,” said Hervas.
On its seventh edition, the 12-stage main event will give a whopping P1 million to the champion.
Ronda sports development head Moe Chulani said they’ve raised the stakes so that they could discover more promising young riders from the provinces just like Ranlen Maglantay, who brought a cheap, second-hand bike, an old pair of rubber shoes and a dream to get a chance to compete in an annual race of this magnitude.
“We believe that somewhere out there, there are gems in the rough waiting to be discovered like Ranlen Maglantay,” said Chulani.
“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,” he added.
LBC Ronda will officially start on February 4 with Ilocos Sur-Ilocos Norte Stage One and followed by the Ilocos Sur Stage Two criterium the next day.
Stage Three will go to Angeles City, Pampanga to Subic on February 8 and then the Naga-San Jose Stage Four individual time trial on Feb. 14 followed by the Pili-Daet Stage Five on February 16 and Daet to Unisan Stage Six on February 17.
Next are the Paseo Stage Seven is in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on February 19, Tagaytay-Batangas-Tagaytay Stage Eight on February 19, Calamba-Antipolo Stage Nine on February 23 and Antipolo Stage 10 criterium on February 24.
Iloilo City will then host Stages 11 and 12 on March 3 and 4.