The Philippines’ only UCI-sanctioned professional road cycling event starts this Saturday. Starting from the north of the archipelago’s largest island, Luzon, the four-stage UCI2.2 ranked mini-tour will guide 12 foreign teams and 5 local teams over 502 kilometers through to a Queen stage that one local newspaper described as “perilous”.
“Perilous” may well attract page views, but the history of Le Tour de Filipinas is certainly interesting enough in its own right; 57 years after the first ‘Tour of Luzon’, this year’s race is the outcome of more iterations and name changes than Prince. Even current UCI president, Pat McQuaid, had a stint as race director in the 1997 and 1998 editions; when the race – then known as the ‘Marlboro Tour’ covered almost 2,500 kilometers over 16 stages! It was in 1998 that the event first gained UCI accreditation; only to disappear for three years after Marlboro withdrew its sponsorship.
Mercifully, even though organization has been farmed out to contractors, Le Tour de Filipinas appears to be trying much harder in the area of media communications than the insular Tour of Thailand. The official website still needs updating (the teams listing is from 2011), and stage maps are extremely hard to read (larger maps below) but Facebook and Twitter are being actively used.
STAGES AND PROFILES
Stage 1 | Sta. Ana – Tuguegarao City 155.75km
Saturday, 14 April 2012
Stage 2 | Tuguegarao City – Cauayan City 109.43km
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Stage 3 | Cauayan City – Bayombong N.V. 102.52km
Monday, 16 April 2012
Stage 4 | Bayombong – Baguio City 133.83km
Tuesday, 17 April 2012