Familiar foe makes ‘Hell of Marianas’ race tougher for Galedo
SAIPAN—A familiar face is sure to make Mark Galedo’s first attempt to conquer Hell of the Marianas Century Cycle even tougher.
Among the competitors in the annual’s 100-kilometer bike race around this hilly island is Konstantin Fast of Russia, whom Galedo has regularly raced against in the last three years as part of the 7 Eleven-Sava Road Bike Philippines.
Fast ruled the men’s open category of the 2014 edition of the race, which features a scenic view of Saipan amid tough climbs and challenging descents.
READ: Saipan’s ‘Hell of Marianas’ draws elite Filipino cyclists, triathletes
“When I found out that [Fast] is competing, I thought ‘we have another headache’ because I regularly raced against him around Asia,” Galedo said Thursday in Filipino before leaving the Marianas Resort and Spa, where the athletes are billeted, to give the race course a try.
“He’s a team player and an all-rounder. He’s a threat and he has a chance of winning if you let him slip away. We need to keep an eye on him.”
Joining the three-time Tour champion in the pro open category is Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance’s Jan Paul Morales, who won last year’s Luzon and Mindanao leg of Ronda Pilipinas.
Also in the mix are Filipino triathletes Ian Solana, Glenn Gonzales and Joe Miller of Team Ford Forza who are hoping to make waves in the age-group division.
Fast, who arrived in the same flight as the Filipino athletes early Thursday, is pleasantly surprised that there are professional Filipino cyclists to spice up this year’s Hell of the Marianas, which is on its 10th year.
“It’s a good idea. I haven’t see a lot of [pro] Filipinos competing here,” Fast, who is a member of Singha Infinite Cycling Team from Thailand, told Filipino reporters.
Fast is aware of Galedo’s capabilities on the road but is hoping his familiarity of the course can help him land in the podium anew on Saturday.
“I know what [Galedo] can do. He’s stong and universal. He’s a good cyclist,” Fast said.
“I hope I can stay in the podium again…I’m a little bit tired because it’s the end of the season, but I’m ready.”
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