Summer heat will test foreign riders
SUBIC. — Foreign riders have dominated the past two legs of the nine-stage 2010 Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers Association Tour of Luzon, relegating Filipino riders to the backseat.
For two-time Tour champion Warren Davadilla, however, these setbacks are only temporary and could be easily neutralized when the "real" race begins Wednesday.
"Mahaba pa ang karera. Magkakaalaman ‘yan pagdating sa road race,’’ said Davadilla, skipper of GeoEstate/The Beacon, one of the leading real estate developers and chief supporters of cycling in the country.
Endurance will be the key when 60 riders from 10 teams go through three consecutive point-to-point massed start races starting Wednesday. They will negotiate a 133-kilometer ride from Subic to San Jose, Tarlac with a moderate climb to the finish.
Stage 6 will again kick off inside the former American naval base with the riders passing through the Bataan Technopark in Dinalupihan, Bataan before finishing it off in Morong, a 130-km race.
Another 130 kilometers of undulating terrain await the riders in Stage 7 where the eventual Tour champion is expected to emerge.
"Malakas talaga sila (foreigners) sa criterium kaya expected na sila ang mananalo sa mga stages na circuit,’’ said the 35-year-old Davadilla after Canadian Ryan Anderson of Kelly Benefits Strategies ruled Stage 2 (ITT) to take the overall lead from Stage 1 winner James Perry of South Africa.
Davadilla could be right and former Tour champions Paquito Rivas and Rene Dolosa totally agreed.
"Maikli ang mga naunang karera kaya tingin ko malaki pag-asa natin pagdating sa road (race),’’ said Dolosa, the 1992 and 1995 Tour champion who is also coaching party list group LPGMA.
"Puro sprinters ang mga foreign riders kaya pabor sa kanila ang karera. Sa init ng panahon, sa road natin makikita ang endurance nila,’’ said Rivas, the former Tour Eagle of the Mountain.
Rivas added Baler Ravina of Liquigaz and Smart’s Tomas Martinez are his top bets to overcome the foreign challenge.
Irish Valenzuela of American Vinyl, Ravina, former champion Santy Barnachea of Liquigaz and Tagaytay’s Alfredo Asuncion are the only local riders in the top 10.
Monday’s race was a smooth 70km ride at the Subic International Raceway while another criterium is in the offing at Clark (84kms) Tuesday