Four Filipino cycling teams will compete against 11 foreign squads in the 10th Le Tour de Filipinas that will roll off on June 14 to 18.
Leading the charge for the local side is defending champion Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance led by reigning individual titlist El Joshua Cariño.
7-Eleven Cliqq Air 21 Roadbike Philippines, Go For Gold and Bike X Philippines will also compete under the Philippine flag.
“We have four teams for the Philippines. So it’s a big chance of winning for us,” said PhilCycling chairman Bert Lina during a news conference on Tuesday at the Resorts World Manila.
This year’s Le Tour, with a theme “10 Years of Cycling” was approved by the International Cycling Union (UCI) as a Category 2.2 race.
“The Le Tour de Filipinas continues its advocacy in promoting international peace, goodwill, health, tourism and environment,” said Le Tour chairman Donna Lina.
The Le Tour will start with the 129.5-kilometer Stage 1 that will traverse through hilly Tagaytay City.
Stage 2 is a 194.9km course from Pagbilao, a first-time Le Tour host, to Daet in Camarines Norte while Stage 3 is a 183.7 km race from Daet to Legazpi City.
Stage 4 is a 176km race from Legazpi via Sorsogon and Gubat and back to the Albay capital. The Le Tour ends with a 145.8km Stage 5 that will start in Legazpi and return to Sorsogon via Donsol.
The 2019 Le Tour boasts of a total distance of 822.2km. The race will provide qualifying points for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will gauge how Filipino riders will fare in the 30th Southeast Asian Games to be hosted by the country late this year.