Tour Pilipinas

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Z Bernard, May 4, 2003.

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  1. Z Bernard

    Z Bernard Guest

    Tour unfolds with out-and-back lap Manila Times By Bobby Rondez

    LEGAZPI CITY-The country's top summer sports event has finally returned after five years with a
    new name and a new vision, as 84 cyclists hit the road Saturday seeking fame and glory at the
    start of the Air 21 Tour Pilipinas, a 15-lap, 18-day odyssey on wheels that kicks off in this
    southern capital.

    Leading the new breed of riders seeking to etch their names in Tour history are a pair of young,
    steel-legged cyclists Lloyd Reynante of the Pagcor team and Warren Davadilla, the previous Marlboro
    Tour's last champion in 1998, of the Intel squad.

    The 24-year-old Reynante, whose father was crowned Tour king back in 1987, is tagged as the man to
    watch due to his gutsy maneuvering even in tight situations.

    The inaugural lap is an out-and-back 183-kilometer run where the cyclists distributed among 12 teams
    will pass through three cities and six towns surrounding the majestic Mayon Volcano toward Sorsogon
    before heading back to Legazpi.

    Federal Express chairman Bert Lina and president Lito Alvarez will formally flag off the revival of
    the bikathon, which has gained the backing of Accel, Mail & More, Pagcor, Samsung, PLDT, Tanduay,
    Intel, Patrol 117, the Department of Interior and Local Government and Bowling Gold.

    Davadilla, however, remains the benchmark for the rest of the cyclists on the Tour. Despite his
    youth and inexperience, he managed to beat Asia's best riders and became champion of the event's
    last staging five years ago.

    Reynante and Davadilla, co-teammates in the national team, won't be the only men in the spotlight.
    Tour of Calabarzon king Santy Barnachea of Team Bowling Gold, Tanduay DistilĀ­lers' Arnel Querimit,
    veteran Renato Delosa of Gilbeys' Island Punch, Rolando Gorantes of Eco Savers and Eusebio Quinones
    of Patrol 117 lead the other favorites.

    But Dolosa and the Eco Savers' Carlo Guieb, back-to-back champions in the old Tour, both believe
    they still have what it takes to be champion.

    "We'll see who can survive in the first four laps. The young ones who can, 100 percent they will be
    champion," said Dolosa, who grabbed two consecutives titles back in the mid-'80s.

    "They may be young and strong, but Baguio will still be the test for them. Even if you have a big
    lead, that lap will eat up most of it," said 1994-95 back-to-back titlist Guieb, referring to the
    160-km 12th lap from San Fernando to Baguio and the 36-km uphill Rosario-to- Baguio 13th leg.

    Aside from Dolosa and Guieb, other former champions seeking to rekindle their old flame in this Tour
    are 1986 winner Rolando Pagnanawon, Placido Valdez, Bernard Llantada and Felix Celeste

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