MANILA, Philippines -- Six of the seven foreign teams have arrived Thursday with the last one scheduled to plane in Friday or on the eve before the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014 unfurling with a 66-kilometer criterium at the Quezon City Memorial Circle on Saturday.
The Netherlands' Dutch Global Cycling Team of Wim Botman, Jeroen Breewel, Harm Van den Sanden, Jurgen Van Diemen, Roy Pieters and Mike Terpstra, all six-footers, have flown in as early as last Tuesday and were personally welcomed by Ronda Sports Director Moe Chulani.
Japan's Matrix Powertag, Taiwan's Team Gusto, the Malaysian National Team, Thailand-based CNN Cycling Team and Infinite-Singha Cycling Team have all landed on seperate flights Thursday.
South Korea's Uijeongbu City Cycling Team will fly in at Friday noon in time for Friday night's Team presentation at the Hotel Rembrandt in Quezon City in this event presented by LBC, the largest courier and cargo company, along with sponsors MVP Sports Foundation, NLEX, Maynilad, PLDT and Mitsubishi, Versa 2 Way Radio and Standard Insurance and minor sponsor Air Asia Zest.
Martin Bruin, a Tour de France veteran who was one of the foreign officials tapped by Ronda organizers in the first three stagings of this meet sanctioned by PhilCycling and backed by Shimano and Cannondale bikes, the Department of Tourism and Phl National Police chief Allan Purisima, arrived Thursday.
Other race officials Edward Park, Michael Robb, Jammaludin Mahmood, Beatrice Lajawa, Brittney Anang and Rahim Ibrahim, for their part, flew yesterday while Ji Jin Qui will check in Friday night.
"Almost everyone is already accounted for. We're waiting for a few more and we're all set and ready to go for the Ronda Pilipinas International 2014," said Ronda Sports Director Moe Chulani.
The other two foreigners, Spanish Edgar Nieto and Briton Daniel Patten, have been in the country for weeks now and training with Team Roadbike Philippines, a team managed by Bong Sual, where it will race as imports.
The local teams expected to give the strong foreign challenge a run for their money are the Phl Army, PLDT-Maynilad Pro Cycling Team, Phl Navy-Standard Insurance, Cycleline Butuan Mindanao, 7-Eleven Continental Cycling Team and Cebu Kalit Air Force.
Among the Filipino riders that should contend not just for the Best Filipino rider award as well as the overall crown are former Ronda champions Irish Valenzuela of Army, Mark Galedo of 7-Eleven and Santy Barnachea of Navy-Standard Insurance and the young guns of PLDT-Maynilad spearheaded by Ronald Oranza.