By Neto Baptiste
Antigua and Barbuda pedalled its way to one gold and one bronze place finish in the John T Memorial Cycling Race, but failed to impress in the OECS Championships which were both held in Anguilla over the weekend.
Sean Weathered pushed home less than a second ahead of the field in the Masters Division of the John T Memorial to win gold, clocking a time of two hours, 53 minutes and 28.01 seconds (2:53:28.01). He was followed closely by St. Maarten’s Mark Maidwell in a time of 2:43:28.30, and Junior Niles of Guyana who finished third in 2:56:51.24 to round off the top three.
There was hardware as well for Rene Gayral who posted a time of 2:42:22.98 to finish third and grab bronze for Antigua and Barbuda in the Junior Division. Bermuda’s Nicholas Narraway copped the top prize with a time of 2:42:19.02, while Kianny Noel of French St. Martin won silver in 2:42:20.71.
The national riders were however, not as impressive in the OECS Championships with our closest to a profitable finish coming from Jyme Bridges Jr. who finished fourth in a time of 2:18:54.47.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF), St. Clair Williams, said the riders performed well, adding that the odds were against a small Antiguan contingent.
“The guys performed very well under the circumstances because in the OECS race they were outnumbered quite a bit because you only had five persons riding in that race whereas the home team, which is Anguilla, they had two teams which means they had about 10 persons. In addition to that, [Dutch] St. Maarten had five and the field was not all that large so we had about 27 persons in that race and when you have just about 15 persons against five, it is very hard to outgun the numbers that you have coming up against you,” he said.
Four other local riders in Conor Delanbanque, Weathered, Robert Marsh and Gayral placed eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th in the OECS competition.
Williams said the federation will now plan for a number of upcoming meets.
“Early next month [August] the weekend of the 10th we should be able to head out once again to Guyana with the juniors and then we’re going to continue to train hard. We have a few more races left and we’re looking at taking another team down to the Caribbean Cycling Championships in Haiti so we’re still working, still trying to put together a very good team once again so that when we go out we can put forward our best foot,” he said.
Delanbanque missed silver in the Elite category of the John T Memorial by just parts of a second when he clocked three hours, 49 minutes and 39.68 seconds to finish fourth. Anguilla’s Danny Laud who clocked three hours, 49 minutes and 39.48 just barely beat the Antiguan to take the final podium position.
Hasani Hennis of Anguilla won the Elite race in 3:40:4038 with Conor White finishing second in 3:49:24.81.