AFTER an absence of nearly two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, big-time cycling returns with a bang with the staging of the GO Philippines Tour 2022, a multi-stage bike festival featuring 16 legs over 22 days all over the archipelago opening on February 14 in Davao City.
“We know how our local cycling fans and riders have been hungry to have another big cycling competition and this our answer to that,” said GO Philippines Tour event director Ric Rodriguez during the press conference launching the event last Thursday night at the City of Dreams ballroom in Parañaque.
Rodriguez said this was why the organizers were offering a total pot of P10 million, the biggest in local cycling history, to whet the appetites of the teams and cyclists competing in the bikathon reminiscent of past great cycling showcases like the Tour of Luzon and Marlboro Tour.
“We are just as excited with Rodriguez in the staging of this event that will be anticipated by local riders and cycling fans alike,” noted GO Philippines Tour Chief Executive Officer Marian Romilyn Galanza of the event that will be passing through some of the country’s top scenic and tourist attractions.
“This is a dream come true for us,” said Galanza, who was born in Paris, the French capital of the fabled Tour de France.
She also cited Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the Chairman of the Senate Sports Committee, for supporting the bikefest, underscoring his status both as a sportsman and patron of local sports.
Go is the principal author of Republic Act 11470 creating the National Academy for Sports, a high school for promising young athletes, whose campus will be set up in the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Also gracing the occasion was cycling enthusiast and Local Government Undersecretary Martin Dino, who, as the head of the DILG’s Barangay Affairs, vowed to solicit all of the support of barangays that the race will be passing through.
“The staging of the GO Philippines Tour 2022 is timely with the passage of the law establishing bike lanes all over the country,” noted Dino, adding that he would issue a circular to all the barangays in promoting the big racing event.
As a consummate race organizer, Rodriguez revealed that he has tapped Malaysian Jamaludin Mahmoud, the man behind the world famous Tour de Langkawi, as the chief commissar of the race.
“We need world-class officials for the inaugural GO Philippines Tour 2022 meets current international standards,” Rodriguez said, “and in Mahmoud we know our event will be in very capable hands.”
Known for organizing demanding road races in the past, he said that the cycling competition will be just as challenging, if not more, for the participants.
Rodriguez revealed that the 20th stage, the longest at 228 kilometers, from Lingayen, Pangasinan to Vigan, Ilocos Sur looms, as the make-or-break stage for the riders.