Mark Galedo makes one final push on final day of Le Tour de Filipinas
Mark Galedo is only seconds off the pace and will try to claim back-to-back titles when Le Tour climbs to Baguio. Jerome Ascano

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Mark Galedo is just waiting for an opportunity to launch an attack that will secure his bid in becoming the first back-to-back champion of the Le Tour de Filipinas.

The top Filipino bet riding for 7-Eleven Road Bike has been lurking behind overall leader Eric Sheppard of Australia since Stage One on Sunday, with only three seconds separating both riders in the sixth edition of the international race.

Despite having a handful of chances to try to take the lead in the next two stages, including the penultimate stage of the four-stage race on Tuesday, Galedo felt it was yet the right time to make a push.

The 29-year-old Caloocan-born road cyclist believes the perfect time to make a move is in the deciding fourth and final stage on Wednesday where the riders’ climbing prowess will be tested on a 101.7-kilometer path to Baguio, highlighted by 10.1-kilometer ascent beyond categorization by international standards.

“Susunod, susunod, tapos kung may time na pwedeng umatake, a-atake kami,” Galedo said after finishing 30th in Stage Three from Iba, Zambales.

[See Salleh takes lap honors, Sheppard still in yellow as bunched finish sets stage for thrilling finale]

Galedo is no stranger to sneaky attacks, having also started last year’s edition way behind before making a steady progress to the top. The Filipino finished was third overall entering the last stage, before needing just a runner-up finish in the final leg for the victory.

But the skilled climber knows the competition has become a lot tougher this year with the return of Iranian veterans, although 2013 titlist Ghader Mizbani has dropped out of the race.

[See Former champion Ghader Mizbani out of Le Tour de Filipinas 2015 with bum stomach]

“Abang lang tapos sundan na lang namin yung talagang threat sa ahon—yung mga Iranian at itong leading rider (Sheppard),” Galedo said.

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