Galedo joins Tour greats with 2nd career triumph
MARK Galedo used to listen ardently to conversations about heroic men who ruled back-breaking bikathons in the past. Now he’s a prominent figure when that topic comes up among sports buffs.
Flashing a wide grin, Galedo crossed the finish line of the Ronda Pilipinas on Roxas Boulevard yesterday as champion of cycling’s showpiece event, even as track specialist Alfie Catalan ruled the 15th and final stage to wind up as the winningest rider with three lap victories.
Clad in the red jersey that he had worn for a week as overall leader, the soft-spoken rider from Caloocan City embraced his mother, Eleonor, and exchanged high fives with his Road Bike teammates, supporters and even rivals.
Galedo again seized the ultimate prize—this time without winning a single lap.
“I heard many criticisms before the Ronda started and I am thankful for those comments—they kept me motivated,” said Galedo, the 2009 Tour of Luzon champion, in Filipino.
He picked up P1 million for skillfully protecting his 33-second lead over Irish Valenzuela after the two crucial mountain-climbing stages in Baguio. He also joined the exclusive list of riders with two Tour victories.
Valenzuela, who again ruled Ronda’s king of the mountain challenge, settled for P500,000 as runner-up, the same finish of his LPGMA-American Vinyl squad, which lost the team title, also worth P1 million, to Nueva Ecija.
Lloyd Reynante of Philippine Navy wound up third overall and picked up P250,000 followed by Nueva Ecija’s Oscar Rindole, Cris Joven of LPGMA-American Vinyl, Road Bike’s Baler Ravina, the overall leader for five stages; Harvey Sicam of Eastern Pangasinan, Joel Calderon of Nueva Ecija, John Mier of Philippine Army and Nueva Ecija’s Rey Martin.
Joining forces with Road Bike, Philippine Navy/Standard Insurance and Metro Manila, Nueva Ecija held on to finish 2:37 clear of LPGMA-American Vinyl in the team race.
Philippine Navy/Standard Insurance placed third, 13:25 off the team champion, at the end of one of the most exciting bikathons that was flagged off in Mindanao, passed through the eastern portion of the Visayas and traveled up north on Luzon over a period of 21 days.
Catalan, a three-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games, became Ronda’s only triple-lap winner after clocking one hour, 41 minutes and 26 seconds in the high-velocity, 60-kilometer circuit race. Rudy Roque placed second with Joel Calderon third.
Galedo, the 26-year-old Road Bike skipper, installed himself alongside cycling greats Cornelio Padilla Jr., Manuel Reynante, Jacinto Sicam, Renato Dolosa, Carlo Guieb, Warren Davadilla and Victor Espiritu as two-time Tour winner. Jose Sumalde and Jesus Garcia also won twice but in shorter distances.
“It’s an honor to be with them (Tour greats),” said Galedo, who raked in a total of P1,138,400 in earnings. He said a huge portion of his prize will go to his maintaining his bike shop in Mandaluyong and for his wedding with girlfriend, Gina Alon, in December.
Joven was crowned sprint king worth P50,000 while Mier, the Stage 10 winner, nipped national rider George Oconer for the best young rider award.
Galedo, who changed his surname from Guevarra to Galedo after his father abandoned the family, withstood Valenzuela’s late surge in the Baguio stages.
Valenzuela made a series of attacks in Stage 12 from Lingayen, Pangasinan, to Baguio but couldn’t shake off Galedo. Valenzuela again made a bold move in the individual time trial the following day to no avail.
Galedo all but wrapped up the overall title by merely keeping pace with Valenzuela in the flatlands in Stage 14 from San Fernando, La Union to Tarlac City on Saturday.
Antonio Arzala and Barnachea, the only three-time champions in the Tour, will be Galedo’s motivation in the third Ronda Pilipinas tentatively scheduled January next year. “I want to join them, too,” said Galedo.
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