– grueling duels anticipated over the 5-stages
By Franklin Wilson
When the 8th annual Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport (MCYS) Ride for Life, 5-stage
cycle road race pedals off in Corriverton, Berbice today at 07:30hrs, riders will have at the back of their minds that it’s the beginning of what is anticipated to be a demanding event which has attracted 65-starters.
Defending champion, Raynauth ‘Obeah Man’ Jeffrey of Team Coco’s will headline a star studded line-up of local cyclists that will once again hope to keep the top prize in the Land of Many Waters.
Jeffrey’s team is one of only two teams that have registered according to race officials, the other being a 4-member unit from neighboring Suriname. Reigning Road Race champion Geron Williams will also be one of the riders to watch in this event which will see the riders being sent on their way by Regional Chairman Mr. David Armogan.
The first stage will end in New Amsterdam with the second stage also set for today from Rosignol to Carifesta Avenue. While the senior riders might hold a slight advantage in being the top contenders, the junior brigade led by Michael Anthony and 2014 Junior Caribbean bronze medalist Alanzo Ambrose will certainly be having other ideas as they seek to upset their more accomplished rivals.
The talent is there, no doubt about that, but the execution will certainly take some doing as the youngsters will have to ride a strategic race over the five stages. One challenge that will be there for all the competitors will be the sun which has been unrelenting for some time now.
There will be no room for any bluffs and only time will tell how this year’s event, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport for the second year running, will on fold.
Apart from Anthony and Ambrose, the other juniors in contention are the Crawford cousins, Jeban and Romello, Shaquelle Agard, Akeem Arthur and Silvio Inniss.
The juvenile (youth) category has attracted the two riders that also represented Guyana at this year’s Junior Caribbean Championships in Suriname, national champion, Andrew Hicks and Raphael ‘Sniper’ Leung. This battle is anticipated to be exciting and here’s hoping that they can go the full course.
No females have registered for the event but assurances have been given by the President of the Guyana Cycling Federation and organisers of the Digicel Breast Cancer Awareness race next week that females will face starter’s orders.
The Surinamese team is made up of Oliver Ridarch (Netherlands), Ruiz Ceder (Suriname) and the French Guiana duo of Christoph Grizola and Gzla Hardenbol.
Robin Persaud, Alanzo Greaves, Orville Hinds, Paul De Nobrega, Stephen Fernandes, Marlon ‘Fishy’ Williams and USA based Scott Savory are some of the other local contenders to watch out for.
Team Coco’s has registered a 13-man strong contingent and it is expected that they will sizzle on the roadways. The local members are Jeffrey, Junior Niles, Christopher Holder, Stephano Husbands, Hamza Eastman and Jamal John while the USA based riders are Cubans, Yusmani Pol, Ruben Campanioni, Camilo Ulloa, Johann Robayo and Carlos Ostino. Trinidad and Tobago’s Verion Miraj and Barbados’ Darren Matthews are the other members.
Fans in Berbice, Demerara and the Cinderella County of Essequibo are being urged to come out in the numbers to cheer on the riders as they battle for supremacy over the next four days. Stage three tomorrow is from the Wales Police Station to Bushy Park on the East Bank of Essequibo; stage four is set for Essequibo on Saturday with the final stage on Sunday from the Bauxite Mining Town of Linden to the capital city.
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