Nation’s top cyclists compete in summer classic

Posted at 03/26/10 1:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Over a hundred of the country’s elite cyclists are expected to show their wares in the 2-day Koten-Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Summer Cycling Classic, which kicks off on Saturday.

The race, expected to be tactical, high-octane and exhilarating, offers a total prize of quarter of a million pesos.

The short and quick 2-stage, winner-take-all affair is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines, Powerade, Viva Mineral Water, 7-11 Road Bike Philippines, Franzia Wine, Grace of Shekinah School-Bulacan,
Batang Tagaytay, Reli Tours and Travel, Nueva Ecija Vice Gov. Edward Joson and the City of Tagaytay.

The race jumpstarts Saturday with a tough 161-km stage 1 chase. Pedal-pushers are to gut it out traversing Tagaytay City, Sungay, Talisay (Batangas), Alaminos (Laguna), San Pablo, then left to Calauan, Victoria, Pgsanjan, Lumban, Sinoloan, Fami (Rizal), Mabitac, Tanay, Teresa, Antipolo, all the way to Marikina City.

Sunday will be an equally challenging 151-km grind. This lung-busting final push entails riders to navigate Marikina, Fairview, Norzagaray (Bulacan), Angat, Pulilan, Baliwag, San Rafael, San Ildefonso, San Miguel, Gapan (Nueva Ecija), Santa Rosa, before capping if off in Cabanatuan City.

Among the most seasoned riders expected to answer the starting gun are 2-time Tour Champions Victor Espiritu and Warren Davadilla, Arnel Quirimit, Santy Barnachea, Joel Calderon and John Mark Guevarra.

“This is a great opportunity for us to gauge our readiness for the next tour, the Islas Filipinas. It will be an international event, with tough competition from abroad. We have to be in tiptop shape,” said 1996 and 2007 Tour Champion Victor Espiritu.

Also in the fold are Lloyd Lucien Reynante, Sherwin Carrera, Merculio Ramos, Bernard Luzon and perennial Eagle of the Mountain Baler Ravina.

The event marks the first time Koten, Taiwan’s electrical products and circuit breakers leader, and the PCSO team up in sponsoring a major cycling event. Coca-Cola, a pioneer sponsor of major local cycling events, is expected to support bigger races later in the year.

The Koten-PCSO Summer Cycling Classic is the first point-to-point multi-stage event this year to be sanctioned by the PhilCyling under Tagaytay City Mayor Bambol Tolentino, who will also organize the Tour de Isla Filipinas International Cyclingfest next month.

At the helm of the country’s top charity institution, PCSO general manager Rosario Uriarte promised to shoulder the registration fee of all participating riders.

“We want to change the sports system in our country. We know for a fact that a lot of our cyclists come from poor families, who can’t afford to shoulder the expenses in joining these kinds of events. That’s why we came up with this idea,” said Uriarte.

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