BUTUAN CITY—The LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016 unfurls today with the staging of the Mindanao Leg starting with the 158.32-kilometer Stage One that will start and finish at the Butuan City Hall here.
Reimon Lapaza, the pride of the host city and who topped LBC Ronda Pilipinas two years ago, and the Navy-Standard Insurance riders, headed by team captain Lloyd Lucien Reynante, Ronald Oranza, Joel Calderon and Jan Paul Morales will be the riders to watch.
“We trained hard for LBC Ronda Pilipinas alone,” said Reynante in Filipino on the eve of Ronda’s sixth edition presented by LBC and LBC Express, sanctioned by PhilCycling and sponsored by Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp. with Maynilad and NLEX as minor sponsors.
Lapaza and his Cycleline team confirmed months ago that they will join, but surprisingly declared they’ll skip the event Thursday night.
They changed their minds again yesterday when host Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand “Jun” Amante interceded.
“We’re here to support not just our Butuan City riders like Lapaza but also LBC Ronda Pilipinas as a whole,” said Amante.
LBC Sports Development head and Ronda project director Moe Chulani, for his part, was happy with the development.
“We’re expecting a very exciting race with Lapaza expected to make Butuan City proud,” said Chulani.
Lapaza made a name for himself for topping the 2014 edition of this annual race and pocketed a cool P1 million for his feat.
Also participating is Ranlean Maglantay, a native of Marbel, South Cotabato and who is the youngest entry at 18 years old.
Maglantay, whose father Randy is a motor mechanic, will vie not just for the top purse worth P50,000 for the LBC leg champion, but also the P25,000 prize given to the Petron Local Hero plum.
“I’m thankful to LBC Ronda Pilipinas for giving me the opportunity to compete,” said the shy Maglantay in Filipino.
Butuan will also host Stage Two, a criterium before the race proceeds to Cagayan de Oro for Stage Three, another criterium, on Tuesday.
Ronda will be at the scenic Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich next for the individual time trial Stage 4 on Thursday before capping with the Stage Five criterium in nearby Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Ronda has also included a mountain bike race in each of every leg.
From Mindanao, action shifts to the Visayas for the Stage One criterium in Bago City, Negros Occidental on March 11, with Iloilo hosting the next stage with another criterium on March 13. Stage Three will be a road race from Ilolilo to Roxas City on March 15 while Stage Four will be another criterium race for the ITT in Stage Five, both in Roxas on March 17.
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