Tuesday, 30 October 2012 02:30
By press release
Antigua St. John's - The Antigua & Barbuda Cycling Association deemed the hosting of the 2012 INET Caribbean Cycling Championships a huge success.
It is a major undertaking to host an event of this magnitude and thumbs up was given for every aspect of the event. The Antiguan event attracted 24 Caribbean countries and 102 riders, to rank amongst some of the best participation in the history of the championships.
The event officially kicked off with an opening ceremony on Friday 19th October at the Jolly Beach Resort, followed by a Technical Meeting.
The race activities got start on Saturday Morning when the first rider left the start ramp to start the female’s Individual Time Trial and officially mark the Antigua event open.
Reigning Caribbean Road Champion Shalini Zabaneh of Belize took Gold in the 12 Mile Female Individual Time Trial. Shalini completed the course in a time of 31:12. Nicole Mitchell of Bermuda took Silver after producing a time of 31:15.
Antigua’s first medal came from the reigning Time Trial Champion Tamiko Butler, who had to settle for Bronze after producing a time of 31:27 to take the third podium spot in the Caribbean Championships. Kevinia Francis had a commendable performance placing 6th in a time 34:29.
The Caribbean Cycling Male Time Trial title went to Semi Professional cyclist Carene Boris for Guadeloupe. Boris completed the 24 mile course in a time of 53:43 to capture Gold in the 12th edition of the Caribbean premiere cycling tournament. Silver went to Cedric Eustache of Martinique in a time of 55:08, ahead of Hilard Cijntje of Curacao who won Bronze in a time of 55:17. Fourth place went to Puerto Rican Efren Ortega Rivera in a time of 55:21.
Antigua’s Robert Marsh had to settled for 5th place after producing a time of 55:22, five seconds off a podium spot in his best ever Time Trial performance at this level. Marvin Spencer was the best of the other Antiguans who competed in the ITT. Spencer produced a time of 58:52 to placed 13th. Andre Simon placed 19th in a time of 1:00.43, whilst Jyme Bridges was forced to abandon the race due to mechanical problems.
On Sunday 21st October Team Antigua & Barbuda fielded 10 men and 2 women in the Men’s & Women’s Road Race, the biggest bike race in the history of Antigua. The Men’s Road Race started off 5 minutes before the Women’s. President of the Antigua & Barbuda Cycling Association Cliff Williams, as the official dignitary of the Caribbean event, sounded the bell to start the race.
From the sounding of the bell Antigua & Barbuda witnessed the fastest start of a bike race on the roads of Antigua. However, Teams Guyana, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe and Antigua kept the pace high for the first quarter of the course which contributed to set an amazing 50 minutes to complete the 21 mile course.
A minor crash took place in the first lap, causing riders from Belize and Antigua to abandon the race; the two were taken to the Hospital and were discharged hours later. The Men’s race continued to be a very fierce and strongly competitive event, with the lesser riders dropping off at the back of the peleton.
The final lap came down to a quality group of 16 riders, which also shrank to 13 riders with 5 miles to the finish. Within those 5 miles each rider made several attempts to break free to head home in solo fashion, but to no avail.
Antigua & Barbuda had two riders in the group of the race’s most fit riders, with several attempt to break free also coming from Marsh and Bridges. However, Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico made a strong surge at the 2 kilometre mark to create a gap that can be considered the decisive move of the race.
Robert Marsh tried bridging the gap at the 1 kilometre mark, which was a commendable effort but he came up short of making it across. Guadeloupe and Puerto Rico certainly made the move of the day to keep the gap across the finish line to capture Gold and Silver in the event, deemed and the highest standard Caribbean Cycling Championships.
Gold went to Carene Boris of Guadeloupe, who collected his 2nd Gold of the event. Boris completed the 84-mile course in a time 3:35.46, ahead of Puerto Rican Efren Ortega Rivera who defended and retained his Silver medal won at the Jamaica event. Efren Ortega Rivera placed 2nd in a time of 3:35.47.
Guadeloupe also grabbed the Bronze, with Larochelle Stepane crossing the line 3rd in a time of 3:35.48. Tobago Cycling Classic winner Daren Matthews of Barbados placed 4th in a time of 3:35.48.303, and French Guyana got the 5th spot. Antigua’s best performance came from Jyme Bridges, who contested the winning sprint and came in 7th. Robert Marsh placed 11th, while Andre Simon finished in the second group placing 15th in what was deemed and a commendable performance.
The Antigua & Barbuda Cycling Association commends the guys for what we deem an outstanding performance. A race of this level is usually dictated and usually greatly dominated by Guadeloupe, Martinique, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Antigua, Barbados and Guyana were the only English speaking Caribbean riders in the final group of 13, with Antigua having 2 riders.
Marsh and Bridges were the only riders from the OECS, and not only that -- they came to the line with in this talented group, but they also did a lot in the most of the laps, like chasing breaks, making attempts to break free, and separated themselves to lead the race in some areas. So we are satisfied with their performance -- but would be happier, like the entire nation, to see some on the podium.
The Women’s race had just as much excitement as the Men’s, but Antigua got great satisfaction when Tamiko Butler out-sprinted the race favourite Marisol Tellado to win Gold. The two broke free from the group in the popular Horsford Hill area in Falmouth and kept the lead to the finish. Tamiko not only used her fitness to out-ride the Puerto Rican it also came down to a tactical game, and Tamiko moved at the right time to lead over the line to snatch the crown as 2012 Caribbean Cycling Female Champion.
Tamiko won the CC 42 mile Road Race in a time of 2:08.40.379 ahead of Matisol Tellado of Puerto Rico, who had to settled for 2nd with a time of 2:08.40.547. Bermuda’s Nicole Mitchell placed 3rd in a time of 2:09.08 with the Time Trial Champion, Shalini Zabaneh of Belize, placing 4th. Antigua’s Kevinia Francis finished 10th in a commendable effort.
Meanwhile, The Antigua & Barbuda Cycling Association thanks the general public for their grand support and cooperation. A special thank you goes to Commissioner of Police Mr. Browne, to Messrs. Hunte and Quammie and all the other members of the Royal Police Force of Antigua & Barbuda for their involvement and for maintaining the safety of the event.
We also thank all the persons who came forward to volunteer, along with the members and strong supporters from the Cycling fraternity with special mention of Serpent, Ira, Wayne, Daniel, Wayne, Barry, Patlee, Dimples, Eddie Matthew, Javaughn and Collie Gardner.
Thanks also goes out to the management and staff of APUA INET, staff of the National Olympic Committee and the Sports Medicine Association and NADO, Pyramid Event Management and all the other bodies and persons who helped to make the event a resounding success.