LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2022 hits the road anew after a one-year pandemic hiatus with a 10-stage race with a total of 104 cyclists from 13 teams that kicks off Friday, March 11 in Sorsogon and ends on March 20 in Baguio.

/ 11 March 2022

The annual cycling spectacle fires off with two stages on the opening day. The 12.3-kilometer Individual Time Trial at 8 am and the 59.4km Team Trial at 1 pm with both starting at the Provincial Capitol in Sorsogon and ending on Rampeolas Boulevard.

“Expect a thrilling race because we’re all excited for the return of LBC Ronda Pilipinas after we were forced to move it this year due to the pandemic,” said LBC Ronda project director Bernadette Guerrero. 

Defending champion George Oconer and 2019 winner Ronald Oranza of Navy Standard Insurance and two-time Ronda kings Santy Barnachea and Jan Paul Morales of Excellent Noodles banners the 104-man field spread through 13 squads that will compete for the P3.5 million cash purse including a P1 million champion’s prize.

“I’m ready to defend my title,” said the reigning Ronda king George Oconer who won the title last two years ago. 

“We were formed in 2020 and started to really train last year but Ronda did not push through. That gave us one year of preparation,” 2011 and 2015 Ronda winner Santy Barnachea expressed. 

Dominic Perez and Jonel Carcueva of Go for Gold, Santy Barnachea and Jan Paul Morales of Excellent Noodles, Marvin Tapic and Cris Joven of Army, Rudy Roque of Dreyna, Sherwin Carrera of Eagle Cement, Warren Bordeos of Champs Café and Marcelo Felipe and Rustom Lim of Team Nueva Ecija are other contenders to look out for. 

Also out to participate are Bike Kings Laguna, Vantage Ilocos Norte, VPharma, Team Quezon Province and Team Ilocos Sur.

For Navy coach Reinhard Gorantes, the final three stages —the 174.4km Baler-Echague, Isabela Stage Eight, 193.2km Santiago, Isabela-Baguio Stage Nine, and the 10 Baguio criterium— will decide the cyclist that will breakthrough the competition. 

“The race will be decided in the last three stages,” he said. 

Other stages include the 163km Sorsogon-Legazpi Stage 3 Saturday, the 189.1km Legazpi-Daet Stage 4 Sunday, 212km Daet-Lucena Stage 5 Monday, and 157.4km Lucena-Tagaytay Stage 6 Tuesday.

Riders will then take a breather on Wednesday before proceeding with the 157.4km Lucena-Tagaytay Stage Six Thursday and the final three laps.