Valenzuela, Galedo 1-2 in time trial
Stage king now 33 secs. offBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BAGUIO CITY—After hurdling two critical mountain stages, Mark Galedo and Irish Valenzuela are bringing the suspense of their duel for the Ronda Pilipinas crown in the flatlands.
Valenzuela ruled Stage 13’s individual time trial yesterday, slicing several precious seconds off red-jersey holder Galedo’s lead to stay in the hunt for supremacy in local cycling’s biggest race.
The LPGMA-American Vinyl skipper crossed the finish line in 44 minutes and 51 seconds to seize stage honors in the 21.5-kilometer race-against-the-clock from Tuba, Benguet, and move within 33 seconds off the overall lead.
“It’s not over yet. There’s still hope and tomorrow’s race will again be crucial,” Valenzuela said in Filipino after retaining Ronda’s king of the mountain title, the third KOM award of his career.
Galedo pedaled furiously in the final ascent from the famed Lion’s head to finish second, 14 ticks behind Valenzuela in the ITT stage marred by a fight at the starting line.
Sportscaster Snow Badua was beaten up by V-Mobile coach Arjun Saulo after the latter charged Badua of favoring the other teams in his television show. Ronda officials banished Badua, who suffered a swollen upper lip, and Saulo, who was fined P10,000, from the Tour.
The 75 surviving riders set off in reverse order of the standings with Galedo the last to be released. From a scheduled distance of 27.4 km, the course was cut by 5.9 km due to a landslide in Camp 2 in Tuba, the original flag-off point.
Starting the day 51 seconds off the pace, Valenzuela charged up the chain of sharp curves on Kennon Road despite a small pin embedded in his rear wheel and seized an 18-second lead over Galedo after the first intermediate time check halfway through the course.
Valenzuela kept his advantage all the way to the finish to wrap up his second lap victory and set up one of the most riveting finishes in the Tour.
Lloyd Reynante of Philippine Navy collapsed from exhaustion at the finish line but still managed to check in third in the stage, 2:02 behind Valenzuela.
Guam-based two-time Tour champion Manuel Reynante was there to support his son, who lay third overall, 4:06 back.
“Valenzuela will definitely attack and try to take (the red jersey) away,” said Galedo, who is 5:50 clear of Oscar Rindole, 6:23 ahead of Cris Joven, 8:50 in front of Baler Ravina and 9:33 faster than Stage 12 winner Joel Calderon.
“I will need the help of my teammates,” added the Road Bike skipper.
Today’s penultimate 134.4 km stage from San Fernando, La Union, to Tarlac City is largely flat.
“It’s difficult (to catch Galedo) but I’ll give the people who follow the Ronda a good show,” said Valenzuela who boosted his earnings to a Tour-best P221,500.
The race for the P1-million team prize is also tight after defending champion LPGMA-American Vinyl shaved more than two minutes off Nueva Ecija’s lead. Only 2:52 separated the two teams.
The 21-day, 15-stage Ronda ends on Sunday with a 90 km criterium race on Roxas Boulevard in Manila.
Stage 13 results
Stage Individual Classification: 1. Valenzuela, Irish (AMV) 44:51, 2. Galedo, Mark (RBP) 0:14, 3. Reynante, Lloyd (PNS) 2:02, 4. Calderon, Joel (VMB) 2:20, 5. Gorantes, Ronald (MML) 2:29, 6. Rindole, Oscar (VMB) 2:45, 7. Mier, John (PAR) 2:47, 8. Joven, Cris (AMV) 3:03, 9. Oconer, George (RPT) 3:09, 10. Ravina, Baler (RBP) 3:18, 11. Benosa, Alvin (PAR) 3:20, 12. Martinez, Tomas (OTL) 3:36, 13. Lim, Rustom (AMV) 3:57, 14. Atilano, Emelito (MML) 4:02, 15. Sicam, Harvey (EPN) 4:07, 16. Martin, Rey (VMB) 4:08, 17. Biag, Billy (SLB) 4:08, 18. Tolentino, Jay (MDN) 4:15, 19. Ramos, Merculio (OTL) 4:25, 20. Esteves, Robinson (EPN) 4:38
Overall Individual Classification: 1. Galedo, Mark (RBP) 46:08:52, 2. Valenzuela, Irish (AMV) 0:33, 3. Reynante, Lloyd (PNS) 4:06, 4. Rindole, Oscar (VMB) 5:50, 5. Joven, Cris (AMV) 6:23, 6. Ravina, Baler (RBP) 8:50, 7. Calderon, Joel (VMB) 9:33, 8. Sicam, Harvey (EPN) same time, 9. Mier, John (PAR) 11:13, 10. Martin, Rey (VMB) 12:38, 11. Gorantes, Ronald (MML) 13:09, 12. Martinez, Tomas (OTL) 15:49, 13. Oconer, George (RPT) 16:42, 14. Ramos, Merculio (OTL) 17:15, 15. Benosa, Alvin (PAR) 18:27, 16. Nonato, Dexter (MDN) 19:59, 17. Oranza, Ronald (NLI) 20:01, 18. Tolentino, Jay (MDN) 24:28, 19. Barnachea, Santy (PNS) 25:27, 20. Roque, Rudy (AMV) 26:50