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322 cyclists eye LBC Ronda slots

A total of 322 cyclists, led by former champions Santy Barnachea and Irish Valenzuela and Southeast Asian Games triathlon gold medalist Nikko Huelgas, aim for slots in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas main race early next year as they compete in the Luzon qualifying race on Saturday in Tarlac City.

Barnachea, 41, is looking to earn his spot in the main race tentatively set March 1 next year and a chance to shoot for his third title in this annual LBC-bankrolled race after winning the very first edition in 2012 and the fifth in 2015.

Valenzuela, the 2013 Ronda titlist who now works in Dubai, for his part, will likewise return to action after sitting out the last two years following a road accident.

Huelgas, fresh from his gold medal conquest in the SEAG in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last month, is using this race as part of his training for international triathlon races, including the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia and the 2019 Manila SEAG.

Junrey Navarra, the former Ronda King of the Mountain winner, is also hoping to make it back after skipping last season.