By Franklin Wilson
As the 2011 cycling season heats up the rivalry between the nation’s top riders is also warming up as was the case at the R&R International sponsored 40-mile road race held on the West Demerara yesterday morning.
The event in its 20th year saw seasoned campaigner Robin Persaud romping to his second road win of the season in a gripping finish that saw him nosing past the Physically Challenged Walter Grant-Stuart who continues to hold his own among the best in the land.
Persaud’s winning time was One Hour 42 minutes 41 seconds which was faster than the time recorded for the National Sports Commission race (1 hr 43 mins 26.52 secs) held two weeks ago on same circuit and similar distance and won by rival, Alonzo Greaves.
Greaves who won the feature event at the National Park on Saturday last had to settle for the 5th place as Geron Williams took the 3rd, Darren Allen 4th and yet another rising star, 16-year-old Raynauth Jeffrey who also won the junior category, placing 6th overall from a field of 40-starters.
Persaud, apart from taking three of the 10 sprint prizes, the same amount as Raymond ‘Steely’ Newton, received an extra $10,000 cash compliments of Ian Davis, President of the Miami based Club Coco Cycle Club. Davis also sponsored four additional sprint prizes.
On the upward journey of the race which started at the Demerara Harbour Bridge and proceeded to Bushy Park on the East Bank of Essequibo before returning to the starting line, there was a breakaway by Newton, Alex Mendes, Williams, Persaud and Grant-Stuart while on the downward journey in sunny and slightly windy conditions, Greaves, Allen, Jeffrey and Mendes separated themselves from the pack.
Claiming the veteran category was Junior Niles with another Physically Challenged rider, Ian ‘Dumb Boy’ Jackson crossing the line after Niles; six riders competed in this category.
But the highlight of the event was the sensational riding of Jeffrey who stuck in with the experienced field and did well in placing among the top six and the junior class which attracted 11 competitors.
Jeffrey, who is from the village of Annandale ion the East Coast of Demerara, told Kaieteur Sport after the race that he started riding in February 2010 and was pleased with his performance yesterday. He upstaged his fellow Continental Cycle Club, club-mate Kurt La Rose to the second place.
At the presentation ceremony, Henry Rambarran, nephew of sponsor Jacob Rambarran Managing Director of R&R International (a former cyclist) complimented the riders for participating in the 20th edition of the race.
Organiser Hassan Mohamed, while also thanking the participants, was high in praise for the sponsor while acknowledging the commitment of R&R International for maintaining their partnership with the race for 20 unbroken years.
Mohamed informed that during the month of February, five road races and two National Park events were held and that would be matched in the month of March.
On Sunday the first of three road races in memory of the Late President Cheddi Jagan will be held in the Ancient County of Berbice starting outside the People’s Progressive Party Office at New Amsterdam.
Race two in the series is set for the West Demerara on Sunday March 13 while the final event will be held in the Cinderella County of Essequibo on Sunday March 27. Two National Park Meets has also been planned according to Mohamed.
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