MANGATAREM -- Sixty cyclists pedal pushed in the 158-kilometer 6th Bataoil Cycling Challenge (Tour de Segundo Distrito).

The race started and ended in Mangatarem. The cyclists traversed the route twice, from Mangatarem, Urbiztondo, Basista, San Carlos City (Magtaking junction), Binmaley, Lingayen, Labrador, Bugallon, Agauilar, and back to Mangatarem.

Retired Philippine National Police (PNP) General Leopoldo Bataoil said two of his passions even when he was in active police service were promotion of sports and protection of the environment, which are programs not only for the youths but for all ages.

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When he was the police provincial director of Pangasinan several years back, he was part of the launching of the Pangasinan Joggers Club based in Lingayen. With the members, they usually jog early in the morning at the oval at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCCO) in Lingayen.

“I am happy to know that other organizations emerged since then on,” he remarked. “This cycling contest has nothing to do with my running for congressman at the second district of Pangasinan.”

“This is a continuation of the cycling races I sponsored in the past when I was still in the police service. The goal is not only to promote the sport but also to encourage our youths (and other cycling enthusiasts) to indulge into cycling. It will not only keep them away from illegal vices, it also promotes good health,” he said.

Working with Bataoil as race director is several times Tour of Luzon champion Jesus Garcia.

Bataoil said aside from the Ladies Beach Volleyball competitions held in Lingayen, he is also supporting other sports events like chess, basketball, and even bodybuilding contests, a big event will be held on February in Binmaley town.

He thanked Mangatarem Mayor Teddy Cruz, the local officials, and the local police unit for their support in the 6th Bataoil Cycling Challenge.

“I saw the opportunity to complement the activities lined-up during the town fiesta,” he said. (LCMY/Sunnex)