BAGUIO CITY — Mark Galedo’s fixation with the Iranian riders ultimately cost him his bid for back-to-back Le Tour de Filipinas titles.
The top Filipino bet may have been right on the Iranian standouts making a late move, particularly in the fourth and final stage of the International Cycling Union-sanctioned race on Wednesday, and he managed to post a better overall time.
But that hardly mattered in the end as he still fell short in defending his crown.
Little did he know his top threat was right under his nose — Thomas Lebas, who started Stage Four just a second behind the second-running Galedo in the overall race.
In the end, Lebas emerged one minute and 57 seconds ahead of the Filipino stalwart.
But Galedo forgot about the sneaky Lebas, who followed the top two finishers in forming the lead pack that sped away at the Lion’s Head marker along Kennon Road.
“Kinalkula natin na umatake after nung Lion, pero andyan pa siya (Lebas) eh,” the 7-Eleven Road Bike rider said. “Talagang mas nakapag-reserba rin siya ng lakas para maka-gain ng gap sa taas.”
Galedo, who entered the final stage just three seconds behind erstwhile leader Eric Sheppard, could’ve avoided the almost two-minute deficit to the eventual winner had he made an earlier push in Stages Two and Three.
He was even confident enough to think that he didn't need to bring his A-Game in the previous days, stressing the most important stage was the climb to the country’s Summer Capital.
“Dun sa Two and Three, talagang nagpahinga lang kami. Ito talaga yung pinaghandaan namin.”
But Galedo insisted he has little regret.
“Wala namang panghihinayang kasi wala namang nawala sa amin (lamang) nung mga nakaraang araw.”
“Ito lang ang pinanghihinayangan namin na sana nakuha natin ulit yung titulo sa ganyang paraan, pero talaga naunahan tayo ulit eh.”