Galedo goes for back-to-back Tour wins but willing to support other local riders to keep title in the country
Mark Galedo and the Filipino riders try to defend the title in a race featuring 13 continental teams and two national squads. Jerome Ascano

DEFENDING champion Mark Galedo likes his chances of taking back-to-back Le Tour de Filipinas titles with a quicker but flatter course set in 2015, although he says he would gladly take a supporting role just to keep the title in the country.

The three flat stages set will likely keep the strongest riders bunched until the final stage when the pack climbs Baguio City via Kennon Road. But Galedo says that if a compatriot turns out to be much quicker than him, then that person should be supported by him and other Filipino riders.

“Ako naman, open ako na ibigay kung sino ang mas maganda ang kundisyon sa mga teammates ko. Kung merong mas kundisyon, willing ako sumuporta sa kanila kung sino ang karapat-dapat sa Tour na ito,” said Galedo.

The 29-year-old Galedo noted that the two local teams in the tour — his 7-Eleven Roadbike Philippines and the Philippine national team, of which he is also a member — are bent on keeping the title in the country.

“Talagang may plano ’yung team na talagang suportahan ako dahil defending champion ako,” said Galedo during Thursday’s press conference at the Manila Hotel.

“Lahat ng Filipino rider, naka-focus sa akin.”

A major change in the race is the absence of the Bayombong-Baguio route that passes the steep Ambuklao. In its place is the traditional trek to Baguio via Kennon Road in the fourth and final stage on February 4.

“Napaka-technical noon dahil last year, may expressway tapos may Ambuklao. Patibayan talaga. Ngayon, pahabaan at mas matulin dahil hindi ganoon kataas ang bundok.

“Ilang beses na na na-aksidente ako sa ruta na ’yan (Ambuklao). Talagang challenging sa amin ’yung 2014,” said Galedo. 

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