Leader Galedo keeps mountain kings at bay
Joel Calderon wins in a photo finish over Irish Valenzuela.

Irish Valenzuela showed his dominance in the tough climb to the City of Pines but Mark Galedo did enough in Thursday’s Stage 12 from Lingayen to Baguio City to hold on to the lead in the Ronda Pilipinas.

Valenzuela, poised to retain his King of the Mountain title, made his move in the 96.7-kilometer mountain stage and was beaten only in a photo finish by veteran Joel Calderon.

The 26-year-old Valenzuela had a deficit of only a little under three minutes entering the stage and was expected to take the overall lead in Baguio City, but Galedo managed to stay in command.

Calderon and Valenzuela clocked two hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds, while Galedo checked in 1:57 behind the frontrunners to secure third place and keep a 51-second lead in the individual classification over Valenzuela.

“Nasunod naman yon plano namin na tumutok at huwag lumayo sa mga nasa harapan,” said Galedo.

Lloyd Lucien-Reynante checked in fifth and occupies third place in the overall standings, 2:26 off the pacesetter, while Oscar Rindole was fourth in the chase for the top individual prize of P1 million.

With Calderon winning stage honors and teammate Rindole taking ninth place (2:59.52), V-Mobile also made the big jump from fourth overall  to first in the team standings (1:35.20.27), enjoying a 5:05 lead over new second placer and reigning titlist American Vinyl-LPGMA 1:35:32, which was up three spots from fifth last Wednesday.

Three stages remain in the race, with a 27.24-km individual time trial set also in Baguio City before two flat stages from La Union to Tarlac and Valenzuela to Manila.