NAGA CITY — The chances of a Filipino winning the 8th Le Tour de Filipinas appears to be slipping away, with no rider from the two local teams able to break the stranglehold of the foreign riders on the top places after two days of racing.
Rustom Lim of 7-Eleven Sava BRP could not break away from the 16-man lead pack, and was far from taking a podium place, checking in 16th in the tough Stage Two under rain and against strong winds.
Lim’s teammate Mark Galedo was not even in the first group and was 33rd, two minutes and 13 seconds behind winner Sean Whitfield of Oliver’s Real Food Racing.
Their efforts, however, couldn’t make a dent in the overall general classification, with Daniel Whitehouse keeping the yellow jersey with two stages left in the only Union Cycliste Internationale-sanctioned race in the country.
2014 Le Tour champion Galedo remained as the top Filipino in the overall standings but fell from 13th to 15th, now 11:38 behind leader David Whitehouse of Terengganu Cycling Team, while Lim is in 17th, 18:37 back.
The Filipino riders could not put up a unified move, and Galedo said he simply could not attack on his own against the strong foreign rivals in the tough climb to Mt. Malinao in Tiwi, Albay and Sagñay, Camarines Sur.
“Nadamay ako sa head wind kanina. May mga bumitaw, pati ako nadamay. Marami ring natakot sa lusong. May mga sumemplang, may nag-preno. Hindi na namin masundan kung sino babantayan kasi may mga bumibitaw.
“Nakakasira ng rhythm kaya kanina, sabog sabog kami,” said Galedo.
While he still looks to better his overall standing with two stages to go, Galedo said the 7-Eleven team is also set on providing a push for Spanish teammate Edgar Nieto, 10th in the general individual classification.
“Trabaho din namin na alagaan siya. Suportahan namin kasi importante nasa harap siya,” said Galedo.