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15th Tour Ni Frank rolls off today

CEBU, Philippines - Over a hundred pedal pushers are all raring to plunge into action in the bigger and better 15th Tour Ni Frank, which will roll off today starting at the JY Square Mall grounds in Barangay Lahug and ending at Tops in Barangay Busay, Cebu City.

The categories to be contested are the men’s under-23, 39-under, 40-above and 50-above and the women’s open where the decorated Cebuano junior cyclist Ica Maximo is the defending champion.

The 17-year-old Maximo of YKK Bikes-Forza, however, is unlikely to defend her title due to conflict with her academic obligations.

"I cannot train. We have our mid-term exams this week and I need to study. I almost missed the SAC Awarding last Tuesday due to the school exams. I have to hurry back home, thus, I was not able to finish the awarding and participate in the group photo with my fellow athletes," shares the former Batang Pinoy champion who received her third award from the Sportswriters Association of Cebu.

"The race this year is very tough. It has three stages in two days. Last year, it has only teo stages. You need to prepare for this. School always comes first. There will be some other time," shared the Grade 11 student of Sacred Heart School-Hijas de Jesus.

After Stage 1 or the climbing/mountain stage this morning, the participants will resume their battle at 2:30 p.m. for the criterium race at Lantaw in South Road Properties. The circuit race with multiple laps was initially set on Sunday yet, but the organizers led by Frank Gatdula had to make the necessary adjustments due to conflict of schedules with some other events at SRP.

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The third and final stage, a grueling road race covering 120 kilometers, will start at the Danao City plaza on Sunday. The riders will have their U-turn in Bogo before heading back to Danao.

Aside from trophies and medals, the top finishers in each class will also receive cash prize. A jersey will be given away to King and Queen of the Mountain, while the traditional yellow courtesy of Trangko will be handed out to the overall winner. (FREEMAN)

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