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Ronda elims start Sunday

Ageless Santy Barnachea starts his campaign for a third title as he spearheads a huge cast of cyclists seeking for berths in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2017 edition when it stages its first of two qualifying races on Sunday at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Zambales City.

Army is sending a crack team headed by Merculio Ramos, Alfie Catalan, Cris Joven, Mark Julius Bordeos and Alvin Benosa while talented new Navy recruit Jay Lampawog will try to qualify and accompany his experienced teammates who dominated last year’s edition of the LBC-bankrolled Ronda edition.

Barnachea, the first and fifth editions champion of this six-year old race, was part of the 85-man field who have registered for the one-stage, 101-kilometer race unfolding at the Lighthouse Hotel and ending at the Forest View Park inside SBMA.

The top 30 cyclists will qualify to the main race, which stakes a whopping R1 million to the champion courtesy of presentor LBC and its major sponsors Mitsubishi, Petron, ASG Group, Dans360 and Donen with sanctions from PhilCycling under its president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, set Feb. 4 to March 4 next year.

Another 30 spots will be up for grabs in the final qualifier scheduled on Dec. 4 in Bacolod City where they will join the 72 riders who have already automatically qualified by virtue of joining last year’s race.