Members of the diplomatic corps and cycling enthusiasts gathered together for Tour de Manille (Tour of Manila) in line with the ongoing celebrations of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines.
Inspired by the Tour de France—which is considered as the biggest annual sporting event in the world—the project aimed to strengthen the common passion of French and Filipinos for cycling and was jointly spearheaded by the Embassy of France in Manila, Firefly Brigade, Inc. and SM By The Bay.
The race also affirmed France’s commitment to reinforcing global camaraderie though sports. It gave mallgoers a glimpse of how biking can bring people together for good health, good friendship and endeavors to save the environment as well.
“The catchphrase of this Tour de Manille event should be ‘One more bike, one less car’,” French Embassy cultural counselor Yves Zoberman said before the event.
On the other hand, Firefly Brigade, Inc. president Jack Yabut shared his group’s advocacy to promote bicycle riding for clean air and sustainable transportation.
“Bicycling is a very economical way to travel. It answers congestion and promotes mobility,” he said.
Rustom Lim of Team 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines won the Le Grand Spectacle Elite Pro-Class category. RJ Peralta, also from Team 7-Eleven and Ronnel Hualda of Team Go for Gold placed second and third, respectively.
In the Sportive Class for Men category, Niño Jazul of Team Excellent Noodles placed first, followed by Julius delos Reyes of Team Standard Insurance in second place and Juan Carlos Barrios of Team Spacool in third place.
Professional women cyclists Avegail Rombaon and Marella Salamat, both from the Philippine National Team Corratec Pilipinas bagged first and second places respectively in the Sportive Class for Women category. Melissa Jane Haroda of Team Philippine Air Force finished third.
The riders received the symbolic Medallion Rouge (Red Medal) for courage, as inspired by the Tour de France where they award the Red Number for the most aggressive rider, while the top three winners of each category received medals and cash prizes.