Mark John Lexer Galedo leads a bigger local charge in the ninth edition of the Le Tour de Filipinas, with the 7-Eleven Road Cliqq Roadbike Philippines rider hoping to relive his successful stint in 2014 when he won the only International Cycling Union-sanctioned road race in the country.
Galedo skipped the Hors Category 2.1 Le Tour de Langkawi last March to focus on the Le Tour de Filipinas and has cross-trained to mountain bike as he revved up his preparations for the race set to start this Sunday from the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City and finish in the traditional maker of champions, Burnham Park in Baguio City, on May 23.
“I want to win again,” was the curt declaration of the 32-year-old Galedo, who owns an individual time trial gold medal from the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
Galedo, however, would have to contend with 79 other riders from 16 teams that have confirmed their participation in the race co-presented by Air21, Cignal and Cargohaus Inc.
The race starts from the Liwasang Aurora at the elliptical circle with Mayor Herbert Bautista waving the checkered flag on Sunday with the 157.50-km Stage 1 that will be welcomed in Palayan City, the capital of Nueva Ecija, by Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas and Nueva Ecija Governor Czarina Umali.
On Monday, the riders will be flagged off by Mayor Julius Cezar Vergara in Cabatuan City before they climb Dalton Pass toward Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, where Mayor Ralph Lantion will be waiting to award the winners of the 157.90-km Stage 2.
The next day, Tuesday, will be the 185.20-km Stage 3 and it would be Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla and Bambang Mayor Flaviano Balgos Jr. turn to send off the riders to Lingayen, Pangasinan.
And come the decisive Stage 4 from Lingayen—where Pangasinan Governor Amadeo Espino Jr. would be on hand to fire the start gun—to Burnham Park in Baguio City with Mayor Mauricio Domogan awarding the medal to the winner of the 154.65-km grind that includes a hors category climb over Kennon Road.
Organized by Ube Media Inc. headed by Donna Lina and sanctioned by the PhilCycling led by Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, the 2018 Le Tour de Filipinas covers a total of 654.90 kms.
The roster include local teams 7-Eleven Cliqq Roadbike Philippines, Go For Gold, Philippine Navy Standard Insurance, Philippine National Team, Bike X Philippines and CCN Philippines.
The foreign challenge will come from Terrenganu Cycling Team (Malaysia), Pishgaman Cycling Team (Iran), Nice Devo Cycling Team (Mongolia), Interpro Cycling Academy (Thailand), Oliver’s Real Food Racing (Australia), Korail Cycling Team (South Korea), Team Sapura Cycling Team (Malaysia), Ningxia Sports Lottery Livall Cycling Team (China), KFC Cycling Team (Indonesia) and Uijeongbu Cycling Team (South Korea).