The hot midyear weather will not be the only challenge facing the 75 riders joining the five stages of the Le Tour de Filipinas 2019 cycling competition.
Monsoon rains will also provide many obstacles when 15 teams take part in this category 2.2 event when it gets going June 14 to 18.
“It will not just be the sun. But the rains also. We are looking forward to a bigger race, five stages. Mas mahaba ang karera,” said Le Tour de Filipinas chairman Donna Lina.
Lina talked about the Le Tour during yesterday’s weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Amelie Hotel in Ermita, Manila.
The races, which will carry the theme: “10 years of Cycling,” celebrates a decade of racing, and it will now have more stages after the International Cycling Union agreed to have it held for five days.
El Joshua Carino, Le Tour’s third Filipino titleholder, will seek his second straight crown, and will carry the colors of Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance.
Three Philippine squads are also entered, with 7-Eleven-Cliqq-Air21 Roadbike Philippines in the mix with Go For Gold and Bike X Philippines.
The three local squads will seek Olympic qualifying points for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The race will also enable the riders to find out how ready they are for the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Stage 1 will be on June 14 with a short and demanding 129.5-kilometer out-and-back course in Tagaytay City.
It will be followed by a 194.9-kilometer Stage 2 on June 15 from Pagbilao, Quezon to Daet, Camarines Norte.
Stage 3 on June 16 will be 183.7 kilometers from Daet to Legazpi City.
The day after, Stage 4 will cover 176 kilometers from Legazpi City via Sorsogon and Gubat and back to the Albay capital.
Stage Five 5 will also be an out-and-back route in Legazpi City.
But this time it will be via Donsol in Sorsogon for a total of 145.8 kilometers—a crucial final leg where the cyclists will have to endure pedaling over rolling hills while facing strong winds.