WHAT is being positioned as a bigger staging of PRURide PH in 2019 got off to a good start with the successful holding of its first leg Criterium in Filinvest, Alabang, on Sunday.

Part of a wider edition this year of the much-anticipated annual cycling event, which would include a UCI 2.2 Stage Race in Subic next month, the Criterium, fondly referred to as Crit, gathered cyclists of different shapes and sizes to test their skills in the day-long event.

Described as a short action-packed circuit race that requires a series of strategically timed sprints and sharp turns from one lap to another, PRURide PH 2019 Crit offered high-octane categories that were arranged by bicycle types such as fixed gear, mountain bike and road bike, which were further broken down to several sub-categories.

Participants rode at top speed but instead of competing for a set distance, they raced on a point system as accumulated from intermediate sprints and the final lap sprint.

Apart from said races, last weekend’s cycling event also featured events for kids, virtual races, zumba and massage sessions and capped off by a concert boasting of some of the top bands in the land.

Pru Life UK, organizer of the event, said it was a conscious effort on its part to shore up PRURide PH 2019’s offering to communicate better its push to promote cycling and its benefits, something it said it was able to achieve.

“We are happy with this event. It has been successful and I really appreciate the reception it has gotten. Despite the blistering heat the bikers are here,” said Allan Tumbaga, Pru Life UK SVP and Chief Marketing Officer, in an interview with BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the PRURide PH 2019 event.

“It is much bigger. We made it more inclusive. We want to promote cycling and we want more people to know it,” he added.

The Crit on Sunday would be followed by the PRURide UCI 2.2 Stage Race on May 24 to 26 in Subic, Zambales, as well as a Masters Race and fun ride Gran Fondo 30, 60 and 100 kilometers on May 26.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)accredited stage race, which is a three-stage race that will take the riders onto different roads around Bataan and up to the peak of the historic Mt. Samat, will allow professional Filipino riders and foreign international teams to collect UCI points to qualify for entry into the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Mr. Tumbaga highlighted that cycling enthusiasts should expect more come the stage race and other categories set for May.

“We are happy how the event has evolved in just three years. In Prudential we don’t do small things but we do big things. We will continue improving not only for the second leg but in the coming years as well,” the Pru Life UK official said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo