Powerhouse Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance is set to field what Navymen coach Reinhard Gorrantes considers as their creme de la creme in the 9th Le Tour de Filipinas which will be held May 20-23 in Luzon.
Reigning Ronda Pilipinas titleholder Ronald Oranza and fellow national team standout Jan Paul Morales, a former two-time Ronda champion, will lead the Navy team against a crack field that include 10 foreign teams and five other local squads.
Climbing specialist Junrey Navarra will also be in tow along with promising El Joshua Cariño and Jhon Mark Camingao, giving the Navymen ample tools to contend for the general classification and team rankings in the country’s only road race sanctioned by the sport’s world governing body Union Cycliste International.
“Gusto talaga naming mapatunayan kung kami talaga ang pinakamalakas at pinakamagaling na local team dito sa Pilipinas kaya ‘yung Top 5 nu’ng nakaraang Ronda ang isasali namin dito sa Le Tour,” said Gorrantes.
The Navymen, however, are expected to face tough opposition from fancied continental team 7-Eleven RoadBike Philippines, bannered by 2014 Le Tour champion Mark Galedo and veteran Marcelo Felipe.
Go for Gold PH Team, skippered by perennial contender George Oconer, and Team Bike Xtreme PH, led by veterans Lloyd Lucien Reynante and Cris Joven, are also in the mix along with CCN Superteam and the Philippine national team. (Jerome Lagunzad)