Cycling enthusiast and Local Government Undersecretary Martin Dino (left) joins the organizers of the GO Philippines Tour 2022 during the launching of the event last Thursday night at the City of Dreams ballroom. He is joined by Event Director Ric Rodriguez (right) , GPT Chief Executive Officer Marian Romilyn Galanza (second from left) and GPT Chairman Edwin Hilapad (second from right).

 By Kristel Satumbaga

Cycling competition returns with a bang after a two-year absence due to the pandemic with the inaugural staging of the Go Philippines Tour 2022 on Feb. 14 to March 5.

The 16-leg race spanning 22 days starting in Davao City and ending at the Burnham Park in Baguio City and will stake a staggering total cash prize of P10 million.

“We know our local cycling fans and riders have been hungry to have another big cycling competition and this is our answer to that,” event director Ric Rodriguez said in Thursday’s launch at the City of Dreams ballroom in Parañaque City.

The race, which seeks to have the same competitive atmosphere as that of previous prestigious local races such as Tour of Luzon and the Marlboro Tour, expects elite and aspiring cyclists to join.

Organizers require each team to field four elite riders and two under-23 cyclists to balance out the competition.

“We want to have high quality races and at the same time discover new talents,” Rodriguez said.

The race also aims to open the curtains of sports tourism in the country that has been affected by the pandemic.

“We want to show that the country is ready and open for tourists and sports fans alike,” said event CEO Marian Romilyn Galanza, who also thanked Senate Sports Committee Chairman Sen. Bong Go for supporting the bikefest.

The race covers 2,643 kilometers with Stage 1 starting from Davao to Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Valencia to Cagayan De Oro, CDO to Butuan City, Ormoc to Tacloban, Tacloban to Borongan, Borongan to Calbayog, Sorsogon to Legazpi, Legazpi to Daet, Daet to Quezon National Forest Park in Atimonan, Lucena to Marikina City, Malolos to Palayan, Palayan to Tarlac, Tarlac to Lingayen, Lingayen to Vigan, Narvacan to Baguio City, and Baguio City Criterium to Burnham Park.

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