Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ronda Pilipinas Match-ups

The Ronda Pilipinas 2012 is in its finals stages and every major prize is still up for grabs. Here are the match-ups to watch as the Ronda draws to a close.

Battle for Red Jersey and White Jersey: Mark Galedo vs. Iris Valenzuela
The Red jersey is for the overall classification while White jersey is for the King of the Mountain (KOM) title. After the crucial trek to Baguio in Stage 12, Galedo leads Valenzuela by a mere 51 seconds. Valenzuela meanwhile leads the KOM race by over 20 points after getting top points in the Hors Category climb in Stage 12.  The battle for supremacy between the top two will be highlighted in Stage 13's Individual time trial.  If Galedo can catch up and gain against Valenzuela, then he could be this year's Ronda champion.  Valenzuela will be cycling 1 minute ahead of the leading Galedo in the ITT.  Galedo captured the bronze medal in the 50km ITT in the 26th SouthEast Asian Games. He definitely holds the advantage in the upcoming stage.
The ITT was won by Valenzuela but Galedo was just a few seconds behind.  The gap now between the Top 2 riders is juts 33 seconds. Barring any accidents or any unfortunate event, it looks like Galedo is set to win this year's Ronda.  Tomorrow's penultimate lap is a flat stage and Roadbike Philippines will utilize some strategies to keep Valenzuela from pulling away from Galedo.

Battle for Team Classification
The team race in this year's Ronda has been full of lead changes. The top 5 teams are currently within 12 minutes from each other. V-Mobile is currently leading buoyed by its performance in Stage 12. Stage 12 team classification winner American Vinyl/LPGMA is currently second followed by Philippine Navy, Metro Manila, and One Tarlac. The team title is still too close to call and many Filipino cycling teams now are experienced in making successful race strategies so it would be harder to predict. Teams like Roadbike Philippines will just probably be using most of its team resources to support Mark Galedo but many cyclists from the Top 5 teams have also individual aspirations so let's see happens.
American Vinyl/LPGMA is just 2:52 behind V-Mobile.  There is a still a chance for the second running team to overtake the leaders with 2 laps remaining.

Battle for Yellow/Gold Jersey
The Yellow/Gold jersey rankings or young rider classification was ruled by RP Team member George Oconer in the first 10 stages. A mishap in the 11th stage gave the coveted jersey to Ronald Oranza but his rule only lasted one stage as he lagged behind in the climb to Baguio.  The new holder is Philippine Army/RC Cola's John Mier who finished 4th in Stage 12. Mier now leads Oconer by over 5 minutes. Mier has won bronze medals in pursuit events in SEA games, while Oconer was last year's sprint king and best young rider in the Ronda. It will be exciting to see which among these young national team members gets the title this year. The crucial ITT will definitely play a big part on their respective campaigns.
John Mier topped the young rider classification in the ITT thus increasing his lead against Oconer.  It now stands at 5:29. It will take a miracle for the other riders to snatch the prestigious yellow/gold jersey from the Philippine Army/RC Cola cyclist.

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