Galedo caps ride of redemption
BAGUIO CITY—Mark Galedo atoned for a disastrous finish in the Ronda Pilipinas International two months ago with a masterful conquest of the Sierra Madre and Cordillera mountains Thursday to rule the short, four-stage 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas bikathon.
Galedo of 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines finished second, unchallenged by the other leading contend-ers, in the concluding 134-kilometer climb to the country’s summer capital and became only the third rider to nail a third victory in a multistage race—after blowing a chance to pull off the feat last February.
“I somehow felt relieved that I won this race. The feeling of frustration and disappointment are now gone,” said Galedo, who was best known before the event as the first rider to lose the yellow jersey of leadership in the flat lands en route to the final finish line.
Laotian rider Ariya Phounsavath, a Southeast Asian Games gold medalist like Galedo, won the grueling finale in four hours, 32 minutes and 42 seconds.
The 28-year-old Galedo, who attacked and pulled away on the first ascent in Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, 60 km into the race, arrived one minute and 14 seconds behind Phounsavath, who chased him down and passed him on the last climb after the Ambuklao bypass bridge, 15 km to the finish.
Iranian Alireza Asgharzadeh placed third after checking in 2:41 after the lap winner along with Australian rider Eric Timothy Sheppard.
“This victory is for the country,” said Galedo, the second Filipino rider after teammate Baler Ravina, in 2012, to win the Union Cycliste Internationale-sanctioned international race.
Already the winner of the 2009 Tour of Luzon and the 2012 Ronda Pilipinas, Galedo settled for third overall in the February Ronda behind winner Reimon Lapaza.
7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines team manager Bong Sual said Galedo would be rewarded with an all-expense paid trip to Hawaii where he would defend his Pedal to the Meadow title, a one-day uphill race in the United States’ surfing destination.
In achieving a third Tour title, Galedo matched the feat of Antonio Arzala (1955, 1956 and 1959) and Santy Barnachea (2002, 2006 and 2011).
Galedo, who trailed Singapore’s Goh Choon Huat by 3:33 overnight, ended the Tour presented by Air21 1:03 ahead of Sheppard. Asgharzadeh was third overall, 4:12 back.
The Le Tour was also supported by Smart, NLEX, SCTEX, TPLEX, BCDA, Petron, Victory Liner and M. Lhuillier.
Overall, Denmark’s John Ebsen placed fourth (5:02 behind) followed by Phounsavath fifth (5:23).
Goh, the leader since the second lap, placed 11th overall.
Phounsavath took the King of the Mountain crown, Brendon Meney seized the Best Young Rider award and Korean Park Sung-baek was named Sprint King.
Tabriz Shahrdari Ranking, an Iran-based continental squad, captured the overall team race. CCN Cycling Team from Brunei placed second, 5:04 behind, and 7-Eleven Road Bike Philippines was third, 23:45 back.
Ravina, who rides for 7-Eleven Road Bike, was disqualified for holding on to their team vehicle in one of the treacherous climbs in the route.
Ravina and his coach, Ric Rodriguez, were fined 60 swiss francs each for the infraction, according to chief commissaire Nuthapong Lohitnavee. Rodriguez was fined another 100 francs for failing to respect instructions by the race administrator.
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