Baguio City—After successfully staging its 11th edition recently, the LBC Ronda Pilipinas will go back to the Visayas and Mindanao for another encore next year.
“We are happy to announce that there will be an LBC Ronda Pilipinas next year and LBC is looking at Vizayas and Mindanao as venues,” said the race’s executive project director Bernadette Guerrero during the awarding ceremony hosted by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong Sunday here.
The announcement meant the annual cycling spectacle, considered the biggest and richest in the country today with 13 teams and a prize pool worth P3.5 million including P1 million to the individual champion, will return to Mindanao for the first time since it held a five-stage leg in Butuan to Cagayan de Oro six years ago.
Ronda also held its race in the Visayas in 2019—a five-stage, UCI-sanctioned event from Iloilo to Antique that was topped by former Tour de France veteran Francisco Mancebo of Spain.
And now Ronda is coming back to both.
Meanwhile, newly crowned Ronda king Ronald Lomotos of Navy Standard Insurance vowed to work extra hard to repeat as champion and join a company of two-time Ronda winners Santy Barnachea (2011 and 2015) Jan Paul Morales (2016-2017).
“I will do my best to prove myself worthy again next year, I will train hard for it,” said the 27-year-old Lomotos.
The proud son of San Felipe, Zambales pulled off one of the most dramatic comebacks in Ronda history in topping this year’s 10-stage race that opened in Sorsogon and concluded here.
And so with eight-time team champion Navy Standard Insurance, which was also composed of runner-up and King of the Mountain Ronald Oranza, third placer El Joshua Carino, and fourth placer and Best Rookie and Under-23 awardee Jeremy Lizardo.
“The key is training hard and staying disciplined. If we keep that mindset, we’ll have a chance to win again next year,” said Navy coach Reinhard Gorantes.