THE Ronda Pilipinas fires off in Zamboanga City on Saturday with Mark Galedo seeking a second straight title.
Galedo edged Irish Valenzuela for the title last year, his second multi-stage race victory after the 2009 LPGMA Tour of Luzon.
Now the 25-year-old Galedo looks to bag his third title, although he noted that it will be difficult to achieve especially with his old rivals still looking strong and new cyclists raring to upend the veterans.
“Yun po talaga ang pangarap ko ang maging three-time champion. Alam ko mahaba pa ang panahon, kaya ko pa yun. At wala naman akong pangarap sa cycling na hindi natupad,” Galedo told Spin.ph.
Valenzuela is back to lead American Vinyl-LPGMA, while last year’s third placer Lloyd Lucien Reynante again heads Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance.
“Hindi ganun kadali yun. Madami ang kalaban ngayon, lahat preparado, makikita na lang natin sa laro. Kung ano ang diskarte ngayon,” said Galedo.
“Kung makuha, okay. Kung hindi, mahaba pa ko sa cycling,” he said, adding that he believes he can still ride as a professional for eight more years.
“May walong taon pa siguro ako, ayoko namang magtagal ng husto sa cycling.”
A former car painter and kitchen helper, Galedo now owns a bicycle store in Mandaluyong which he co-manages with wife Grace. But manager Bong Sual still keeps the rider focused and motivated.
“Sabi ko sa kanya, pag-nag-champion siya ulit ngayon, bibigyan ko siya ng pick-up na sasakyan para sa (bicycle shop) business niya,” said Sual, who rewarded Galedo with a brand-new motorcycle after last year’s Ronda conquest.