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    Mark Galedo banners five-man PH team vying in Hell of the Marianas: Century Cycling Race

    Dec 3, 2016
    Mark Galedo (left), Jan Paul Morales, Ian Solano, and Joe Miller take on the hill going up Radar Station to prepare for Saturday's 10th Hell of the Marianas Cycling Race.

    SAIPAN, CNMI - Mark Galedo hopes a Filipino rider would be the first to cross the finish line in the 2016 Hell of the Marianas: Century Cycling Race on Saturday, where cyclists face the island’s challenging climbs and sharp curves.

    The 7-Eleven Sava Roadbike Philippines rider arrived early Thursday morning along with Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance’s Jan Paul Morales, and triathletes Joe Miller, Glenn Gonzales, and Ian Solano of Team Ford Forza.

    Galedo said he along with Morales, the LBC Ronda Pilipinas Luzon and Mindanao legs winner, are definitely going all out in their bid to win the overall crown, or at least get a podium finish in the 10th edition of one of Saipan’s premier racing events.

    The Filipino riders, however, are in for a tough challenge as 2014 champion Konstantin Fast of Russia is back to regain his crown after skipping last year’s event. Other top contenders include Fast’s compatriot Alexandr Dorovskikh, and defending champion Ryutaro Nakamura of Japan.

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    Galedo knows what caliber they are up against in Fast after competing against him in several Asian cycling events over the last four years as the Russian carries the banner of the Singha Infinite cycling team.

    He already warned Morales and the Team Forza trio that Fast is the likely thorn in their side during the race that attracted riders from China, Russia, Chinese Taipe, Japan, Korea, Guam, and mainland United States.

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    “[Fast] knows that I’m an all-around rider. That’s why I already informed the other Pinoy cyclists that he could be a headache for us. He is also an all-around threat, that’s why we don’t need to be complacent,” said Galedo in Filipino after he went out and tried the racecourse that starts and ends in front of the Mariana Resort & Spa.

    “We’re just going to keep an eye on him [Fast]. He’s also an all-around rider and he’s really a strong threat that could win again if you give him the chance to slip away. We will definitely keep an eye on him. As much as possible I want a Filipino rider to win.”

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    Galedo said he did some research on the internet and information from organizers gave him an idea of the course layout. He then used the climbs of the Sierra Madre loop in Tanay and San Mateo in Rizal province to prepare for Saturday’s race.

    Galedo ruled the 2012 LBC Ronda Pilipinas and 2014 Le Tour de Filipinas, while winning the Individual Time Trial gold in the 2013 Myanmar Southeast Asian Games. He also had Top 10 finishes in the Tour of Vietnam, Jelajah Malaysia, and Tour of Borneo.

    Morales is coming off his Mindanao leg victory in this year’s Ronda race. He joined Galedo and Team Forza members in testing the race route in Marpi, from Radar to the dreaded Four Corners—Banzai and Suicide Cliff, Bird Island lookout, and Grotto.

    “The elevation is almost similar to Baguio and the roads are like Olongapo. I just noticed that you need to be careful in the curves and there are also some areas that have gravel road. We must also expect the headwind,” said Morales.

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    Riders are in for a challenge early in the race as they would try to conquer the steep hills going up Radar Station to the dreaded Four Corners — Banzai and Suicide Cliff, Bird Island Lookout, and Grotto — before heading South and back to Mariana Resort.

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    Mark Galedo (left), Jan Paul Morales, Ian Solano, and Joe Miller take on the hill going up Radar Station to prepare for Saturday's 10th Hell of the Marianas Cycling Race.
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