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Busy year for cycling

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A busy year is ahead for cycling with two major regional mountain bike championships sharing the spotlight with the 2004 Tour Pilipinas in March and the revival of the national open later in the year.

Bert Lina, president of the Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines, or PhilCycling, said the country will host not one, but two major regional mountain bike (MTB) championships — the Asian and the inaugural Southeast Asian MTB.

The Asian MTB, the annual mountain bike championships that lures more than 200 world-class riders from no less than 20 Asian countries, is tentatively set in September, the same month the PhilCycling intends to revive the national cycling open which was last staged in 1993 in Iloilo.

The PhilCycling has not named a venue for the Asian MTB but has offered the hosting to any interested local government unit. So far, Danao in Cebu and Puerto Princesa City have expressed interest in the Asian MTB, which will highlight a month-long cycling activity that has never been done before on Philippine soil.

The national cycling open will consist of track (velodrome) races at the Amoranto Velodrome in Quezon City, road and national MTB races in the same venue the Asian MTB will be staged and a national cycling congress. All these are tentatively set for September.

The first SEA MTB, which was conceived of and agreed upon by members of the Southeast Asian region’s cycling federations in Hanoi at the height of the 22nd SEA Games early this month, is tentatively set in June with Danao as the probable venue.

All 11 members of the Sea Games are expected to send entries to the first SEA MTB, which the region’s federation heads said is an appropriate tune-up for the Asian MTB and eventually, for the 2005 Sea Games which the country is hosting.

The Philippines stamped its mark in Sea Games cycling when Eusebio Quinones won the men’s cross-country gold medal of MTB in Hanoi. Two silvers-from Victor Espiritu and Warren Davadilla-and three bronzes-from Alfie Catalan, Frederick Feliciano and Marites Bitbit-were also clinched in the Hanoi Sea Games.

The Tour Pilipinas, which will be principally bankrolled anew by Air21, hits the second year of its revival era in March. The 2004 Tour is set for 17 stages spread over 21 days, which is longer than the 15-stage, 18-day revival Tour last summer. The races will start in Sorsogon and will have a stage finish at the Banawe Rice Terraces and will retain the dreaded Baguio City stages.

The Tour was originally scheduled to kick off in the Visayas but the roads on Leyte and Samar provinces, after a survey recently, showed they could not pass the standards for road races as prescribed by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the world governing body for cycling.

vuukle comment

ALFIE CATALAN

AMORANTO VELODROME

ASIAN

BAGUIO CITY

BANAWE RICE TERRACES

BERT LINA

CYCLING

MTB

SEA GAMES

SOUTHEAST ASIAN

TOUR PILIPINAS

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