LEGAZPI City — Marcelo Felipe will have little time to rest after a tough battle in Le Tour de Filipinas as they gear up for the Tour de Langkawi set to fire off on Wednesday.
Felipe took fifth spot in the individual general classification, one minute and 22 seconds behind Le Tour winner Oleg Zemlyakov of Vino 4-Ever SKO to become the best Filipino rider in the four-stage international cycling race.
It was a good start to the year for the 26-year-old Marcelo, who placed sixth in the Tour of Borneo last year.
The 7-Eleven Sava RBP rider, who finished with a total time of 17 hours, 37 minutes, and 45 seconds,
Felipe will be joined by teammate Mark Galedo, who skipped the Le Tour de Filipinas this year to concentrate on the Tour de Langkawi.
Top riders are set to see action in Langkawi, including cyclists who have taken part in Le Tour de France, and Felipe said the target is to claim the trophy for Best Asian rider.
“Medyo mabigat po ’yung makakalaban kasi maraming malalakas na kalaban dun. Siguro may chance sa mga events na pang-Asia lang kasi marami kasing kalaban doon,” said Felipe.
Entering the Le Tour de Filipinas’ final stage at seventh place, Felipe said tried to put up a challenge for the overall title with an early breakaway but was eventually caught by the peloton in the 160.2km-stage that saw the riders go around the towns surrounding Mayon Volcano twice.
“Nag-try din po kami pero hindi naging successful ‘yung subok na ginawa namin. Sa huling round, inabot din kami. Bawi na lang sa susunod,” said Felipe.
Felipe admitted problems with their support vehicle during one of the stages also affected his chance of winning Le Tour, but vowed to bounce back in the next races.
“Nagkaroon ng konting mechanical trouble ’yung sasakyan namin kaya nawalan kami ng suporta sa last 50 kaya po malaki rin ’yung naging agwat ng nag-champion ngayon. Sa susunod babawi kami,” said Felipe.