Galedo grabs Ronda overall leadBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ANTIPOLO CITY—Homesick for more than a month, Irish Valenzuela capped his first lap victory in the Ronda Pilipinas with a warm embrace from his father.
The LPGMA-American Vinyl skipper got a timely confidence boost from the elder Valenzuela near the finish then nosed out Mark Galedo in a wild victory sprint yesterday in Stage 9 of local cycling’s biggest race.
But Galedo ended up celebrating more as the 2009 Tour of Luzon champion vaulted into the overall lead from 10th after red-jersey holder Cris Joven of LPGMA-American Vinyl suffered a crash early in Tiaong, Quezon.
“I badly missed my family but my sacrifice certainly paid off today,” said Valenzuela in Filipino after completing the 155.1-kilometer leg from Lucena City in three hours, 58 minutes and 39 seconds.
“We hadn’t seen each other since training started for this race,” added Valenzuela as tears rolled down his cheeks after father and son embraced near the podium.
“Now that we got the red jersey back, we should practice a different strategy,” said Galedo, whose Road Bike teammate Baler Ravina wore the shirt of leadership for five days before Joven wrested it in Lucena on Saturday.
Exhausted for defending the red jersey since Stage 4 in Surigao, Galedo and his teammates suffered from dehydration during the punishing 209.2-km course from Daet, Camarines Norte and had to be dextrosed for six hours.
Overall, Galedo was 16 seconds ahead of Harvey Sicam of Eastern Pangasinan, 1:39 clear of Philippine Navy’s Lloyd Reynante, 2:50 in front of Valenzuela and 3:55 faster than George Oconer, captain of the Philippine team and last year’s third placer.
Defending champion Santy Barnachea also made great strides, jumping from 13th to sixth (4:01 behind) as well as Ravina, who rose 11 places to seventh (4:22).
Joven, who finished 40th in the stage, 9:42 behind the lap winner, fell to eighth (4:30 behind).
The surviving 75 riders will encounter two more flat stages over the next two days going to Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija and Lingayen, Pangasinan.