Galedo strikes, vaults to No. 3
CABANATUAN CITY—Mark Galedo turned what had been predicted as a frenetic massed finish into a swashbuckling solo breakaway coup to rule Stage 2 of the 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas that ended here Tuesday.
The two-time Tour champion from 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines bolted from the fast-moving lead pack with eight kilometers left of the 175.5-kilometer ride from Olongapo to strike hardest for the Filipino riders.
Galedo clocked four hours, 14 minutes and 34 seconds and vaulted into contention after the relatively flat stage to this rice granary of Central Luzon where tricycles rule the streets.
From 31st overall overnight, the all-around rider from Mandaluyong City jumped to third in the individual general classification, just 3:33 off new leader Goh Choon Huat of Singapore, thanks to the heroic effort of teammate Cris Joven who controlled the chase group’s pace when Galedo slipped away.
“I just saw the opportunity and grabbed it,” said the 28-year-old Galedo, who won a pair of local multistage races in 2009 and 2012, in Filipino. “But I couldn’t have done it without Cris [Joven].”
Korean Park Sung-baek prevailed in a tight sprint down the wire and finished second while Joven checked in third, both of them 47 seconds off Galedo.
Goh grabbed the overall leader’s yellow jersey from Australian climber and teammate Eric Timothy Sheppard of OCBC Cycling Team after negotiating the parched route across the plains of Central Luzon less than a minute slower than Galedo.
Sheppard, the Stage 1 winner, wound up 29th in the stage, 6:40 off Galedo, and slipped to second overall, 3:03 behind Goh halfway through the bikathon sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale.
But disaster nearly thwarted Galedo and Joven, who withstood dehydration in the final 25 km as their team vehicle couldn’t squeeze past the peloton.
“Our water bottles began to dry up and there’s too much road left,” said Joven, who rose from 42nd to 27th overall, more than 10 minutes off the pace.
The route was designed for pursuits and massed finishes with Park beating Joven in the intermediate sprints on SCTEx in Pampanga and TPLEx in Tarlac.
Park capped his performance with a devil-may-care high-speed pipping of Joven down the wire.
Overall, Kazakhstan’s Nazar Jumabekov of Polygon Sweet Nice improved from 12th to fourth (3:58) and Indonesia’s Dadi Suryadi moved up to fifth (4:12 off).
With 65 riders left in the four-stage race presented by Air21, Goh is looking to keep the yellow jersey in Wednesday’s moderately difficult 146.6-kilometer Stage 3 to Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya.
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