Raynauth Jeffrey, the National Time Trial/Road Race champion, riding for Team Coco, emerged as overall Champion when the seventh edition of Ministry of Health/Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport/Guyana Cycling Federation ‘Ride for Life’ Five-Stage Cycle Road Race climaxed yesterday with the fifth and final stage from Linden to Homestretch Avenue over a distance of 64.6 miles.
Jeffrey won the opening stage from Corentyne to N/A on Thursday and finished sixth in the Rosignol to Carifesta Avenue stage later in the same day to take the lead after day one. And although he failed to finish among the top six yesterday he still ended as the leading rider chalking up an overall time of 10hrs, 05 minutes, 33 seconds over the five stages.
Thirty-two riders began the final leg and 30 completed the journey. Orville Hinds from team United finished ahead of Darren Matthews, Geron Williams, Paul DeNobrega, Alonzo Greaves and Hamza Eastman in that order.
Naiomi Singh, the lone female in the event was involved in an accident on the return trip in the fourth leg on Saturday but was allowed to ride as a guest rider yesterday and finished ahead of several other riders as she conquered the Hills on the Linden Highway after failing to do so in her debut 5-stage Race last year.
Jeffrey, in possible a psychological move, broke away from the pack early in the race and by the time the riders approached the Umbrella resort they had separated into four packs.
An outstanding recovery by Christopher Holder, Junior Niles, Samuel Barker, Alanzo Ambrose and Naiomi Singh brought them into contention with the lead pack and at the Soesdyke Junction the peloton was together with the exception of Geron Williams, who was about 50 meters ahead.
At the Supply turn on the East Bank Highway, defending Champion Jaime Ramirez, Darren Matthews, Raynauth Jeffrey, all riding for Team Coco, were at the front setting the pace:
As the pack approached the Village of Friendship, it began to rain and the wet conditions maybe influenced a crash between Wazim Gafoor, Orville Hinds and others.
However, Delroy Hinds opted to stop and give Orville Hinds his bike and everyone was back on their machines at Little Diamond.
This great display of teamwork prompted Dr Anthony to award Team Unity to them, a special ‘teamwork’ award especially since Orville Hinds won the final stage.
Singh also received a special Award for her inspiration to other ladies thinking of getting involved in the sport after her outstanding performance. Kevin Jeffery collected the third ‘special award’ from the Minister for being the most improved rider on show.
At the turn on the Back Road, Orville Hinds made his move and although he was challenged he out-sprinted the lead pack and crossed the finish line about 50 Meters ahead of Barbadian Darren Matthews and the others.
Meanwhile, Director of the Sports Neil Kumar disclosed that it was the Sports Minister who insisted the National Sports Commission (NSC) pick up the slack of G$6 Million after this year’s event was in jeopardy when the funding for the 2013 race was not forthcoming from the Health Ministry as is usually the case.
Next year’s 5-stage is tentatively set for October and the Minster, speaking at the presentation of trophies and awards for the Race at the National Cultural Centre, thanked all those who made the event a success, especially the Cyclists.
The event was first held in 2007 and this year it attracted 62 starters in East Berbice. Overseas riders Darren Matthews (Barbados), Scott Savory (USA), Andrew Newton (USA) ,Paul Choo-We-Naim (USA), Samuel Burke (USA), Gerad Yates (Canada), Jamie Ramiez Berral (Colombia) and Antiono Jose Alacon Gonsalez (Colombia) also participated this year.
“We need the support of prospective sponsors and I am confident that the business community will come on board especially when they see what this annual race is doing for Cycling and Guyana’s image,” Dr Anthony said.
He said the 3 & 5 stage Road races have now become a part of the Guyana’s Sports Calendar and assured the riders that even if the Sports Ministry has to step in financially, unless other funding is secured, the event will not be shelved.
Kumar challenged the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF), who’s President Cheryl Thompson was present at the head table, to look towards the 2016 Olympics and Organise a national club cycling competition as a part of their preparation.
Thompson and National Cycling Coach Hassan Mohamed also delivered speeches yesterday. (Sean Devers)
Official overall Results for the Five-Stage Road Race
Raynauth Jeffrey- 10:05:33
Alanzo Greaves- +52
Darren Matthews- +1:07
Geron Williams- +1:33
Godfrey Pollydore- +1:35
Orville Hinds- +2:52
Paul DeNobrega- +3:23
Robin Persaud- +4:01
Jaime Ramirez- +4:09
Hamzah Eastman- +4:23
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