Ronda spices up 6th edition with criterium, ITT races
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Ronda Pilipinas hits the road on Feb. 20 with welcome innovations marking its sixth staging starting with the five-stage Mindanao leg passing through Butuan City, Cagayan de Oro, Malaybalay and Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Ronda organizers have decided to hold a combination of road, individual time trial and criterium races to go with the international standard after focusing on the road type of races in its first five editions.

This year’s Ronda, presented by LBC and backed by major sponsors Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp. and minor backers Maynilad and NLEX, will also step up its drive in discovering potential pool of talents from the countryside as well as getting the fans involved in its newly introduced community ride.

“We need to adapt to the way races are done in the world stage as this project is to groom champions for flag and country,” said Ronda sports development head Moe Chulani.

“We also want all the cities, towns and provinces we visit to have a chance to see our riders and our race the whole day and get them involved for a first-ever community ride,” he added.

Unlike in the past Ronda staging, this year’s edition will have three separate overall winners from Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon with millions of prizes at stake.

This year’s Ronda, which has tapped 3Q Sports headed by Quin and Jojo Baterna and assisted by Rommel Bobiles, the same group that handled the Giro de Pilipinas in Subic last October, hopes to lure not just aspiring riders but also the ordinary folks to get the feel of the races.

“LBC Sports Dev’t. Corp. feels everyone should have the chance to join Ronda Pilipinas 2016, which is the fourth biggest race in the world in terms of distance covered, not just the elite riders,” said Chulani.

“That’s why Ronda Pilipinas 2016 will be bigger and better where we will have everyone, including the executives and amateurs joining us,” he added.

Ronda will officially start on Feb. 20 with a road race from Butuan City and back and a criterium on the same city the following day and in Cagayan de Oro on Feb. 23, an ITT in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich on Feb. 25 before concluding with another criterium in Malaybalay on Feb. 27.

The Visayas leg is composed of a Stage One criterium in Bago City, Negros Occidental on March 11, Stage Two criterium in Iloilo City on March 13, a Stage Three road race from Ilolilo to Roxas City on March 15, a Stage Four criterium and Stage Five ITT both in Roxas on March 17.

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