THE Le Tour de Filipinas returns with its ninth edition in February next year with the island province of Catanduanes hosting the first two stages—a first in the International Cycling Union (UCI) Asia Tour race.
The Category 2.2 event is scheduled February 18 to 21, 2018, with 15 squads, mostly foreign-based Continental Teams, again seeing action.
Stages One (February 18) and Two (February 19) will be raced in two out-and-back courses in Catanduanes’s capital of Virac—the first on a hilly 158.97-kilometer route in the provinces eastern side marked with three King of the Mountain points and the second a winding 134.95-km distance on the western side.
The next two stages will again traverse Albay and Sorsogon. Stage Three on February 20 will cover 166.85 kms from Legaspi City to Sorsogon City passing through Bulusan and Stage Four on February 21 will be a long 209.17 kms grind that will see the riders pedaling around the perimeter of Mayon Volcano.
Catanduanes is the birthplace of the late Jose Sumalde, one of only four Filipino cyclists who won the fabled Philippine Tour for consecutive years in 1964-65.
Race organizer Ube Media Inc. said the 400-strong race entourage will either fly directly to Virac or Legaspi City where they will travel by land to Tabaco City to take a ferry across the Maqueda Channel to San Andres in Catanduanes.