Ronda Pilipinas: Galedo seizes lead; Kiwi tops S6 | Inquirer Sports
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Ronda Pilipinas: Galedo seizes lead; Kiwi tops S6

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 01:49 AM February 08, 2014

ANTIPOLO CITY—In the last difficult leg before the race reaches its climax in the mountains, Mark Galedo valiantly positioned himself for a second Ronda Pilipinas 2014 crown.

The unflappable captain of 7-Eleven Continental Cycling Team grabbed the overall lead from Santy Barnachea of Philippine Navy Standard Insurance after striking hard in Friday’s most punishing climb in Stage 6 won by New Zealand sprinter Jason Christie.

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Galedo finished eighth in the 153-kilometer ride from Lucena City along with fellow contender Riemon Lapaza of Cycleline Butuan Mindanao, 26 seconds off the lap winner, but it was enough for the 2012 Ronda king to claim the red jersey going into the crucial stretch of the 14-stage bikathon.

“I really went after the red jersey,” said Galedo, a two-time bikathon champion. “We don’t want to lose it, so we have to watch out for attacks along the way.”

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Two of the biggest threats to his title aspirations are French mountain specialist Peter Pouly, who vaulted from 12th to eighth overall yesterday, and Lapaza, a surprise contender who has successfully tagged along with the leaders.

Christie, the Stage 1 winner in Quezon City, clinched his second lap win in three hours, 33 minutes and 59 seconds.

Denmark’s John Ebsen, who rides for CCN Continental Team like Christie, placed second after the mad dash to the line and Pouly checked in third.

Breaking free from the peloton, Galedo began to make his move after a windy ride on the shores of Laguna Bay, the country’s largest lake.

He finally caught up with the lead pack headed by Rustom Lim of PLDT Maynilad and Marcelo Felipe of Road Bike Philippines in the final ascent in Teresa, less than 10 km to the finish.

“Now that I’m [wearing the] red (jersey, the symbol of overall leadership), I will reserve my energy for the mountain stages,” said Galedo.

With Galedo ably backed up by Cris Joven, Mark Julius Bordeos and Jonipher Ravina, 7-Eleven put on a solid show as the team owned by Philippine Seven Corp. boss Vic Paterno paced the team race over Navy by 6:14 minutes.

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Galedo was 14 seconds ahead of Lapaza, 2:19 clear of Bordeos and 3:01 in front of Barnachea, who gave up the red shirt after falling behind during the last climb entering the city.

Felipe improved to fifth (3:56 behind), Ronald Oranza of PLDT Maynilad fell to sixth from fourth (4:45), Navy’s George Oconer, climbed from ninth to seventh (4:59), and Pouly, who started the day 6:14 behind, narrowed the gap to 5:40.

“I’m trying to get closer to the red jersey. I’ll attack in the mountains,” said Pouly, 36, a five-time winner of the French mountain bike championships.

Left largely to fend for himself because of a support cast that wasn’t as formidable as before, defending champ Irish Valenzuela stood in 14th spot (8:14 off). He finished the stage in the company of Galedo and Lapaza.

Sprinters will have the chance to shine in the next two days over mostly flat roads in Stage 7 (172 km) from Valenzuela City to Tarlac City on Saturday and Stage 8 (197.3 km) from Tarlac to Dagupan City on Sunday.

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TAGS: Cycling, jason christie, Mark Galedo, Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, Ronda Pilipinas, Santy Barnachea, Sports
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