Ronda Pilipinas: Galedo sees tight race
MANILA, Philippines—It’s going to be a tough race.
This was how former Ronda Pilipinas individual champion Mark Galedo predicted the fight for overall and team honors will be when the 2015 edition of the gruelling road race takes off in Sta. Rosa this Sunday.
Galedo, the 2012 winner and skipper of 7-Eleven/Road Bike Philippines, based his observation on the impressive showing of the Philippine Navy Standard Insurance riders, who dominated the two-lap Luzon qualifying leg of the Ronda Tuesday.
Navy’s Ronald Oranza swept the individual honors in the qualifier while his teammates—Jan Paul Morales and Santy Barnachea—completed the podium cast at the end of the two-day race.
Philippine Navy bagged the overall plum plus the P1-million reward last year.
The Navymen will be even more formidable in the Ronda championship phase ending on Feb. 28 now that they have brought one-time champion Joel Calderon and seasoned riders El Joshua Carino and Rudy Roque into the fold.
Another Navy asset is Lloyd Reynante, a tested workhorse and leader in both sprints and climbs.
But Barnachea still has high regard for Galedo.
“We have a strong team, but I think (Mark) Galedo is still the strongest rider by far,” said the 2011 Ronda champion.
Galedo, who is using the event as part of his preparation to defend his individual time trial gold medal in the Singapore Southeast Asian Games in June, has former Tour winner Baler Ravina, Cris Joven and Marcelo Felipe at 7-Eleven/Road Bike Philippines along with Visayas leg champion Ryan Cayubit.
“I don’t want to make predictions, but my team and I are ready for the challenge,” said Galedo, a three-time Tour champion like Barnachea.
A total of 88 riders made it to the championship phase that stakes a P1 million purse to the winner.