Kurt Maraj riding high!

With arms raised Kurt Maraj crossed the finish line ahead of Chester Forde (extreme right) and twin brother Kirk.

Kurt Maraj victorious in road race? ?Cyclist of the Year Kurt Maraj outlasted a number of contenders including his twin brother Kirk 88 km road race organized by the St Lucia Cycling Association (SLCA).
Sixteen riders set out from the waterfront at government buildings at about 7:30 am and made their way along the John Compton Highway to the round-a-bout at Choc. From them they circled back and went around the other round-about just past government buildings. Completing that route 10 times amounted to 88 km.
As the race progressed the lead group consisted of the Maraj twins, Chester Forde, Winston Williams, Elvis Joseph, Eustace Dookie and Sammy Joseph. ?The lead bunch kept a steady pace of at least 40km per hour making it difficult for any of the others to catch up. By the 18 Km 2010 an out of form 2010 National Champion Sammy Joseph was unable to hold as the the Maraj Twins and Chester Forde brought the speeds up to 50km per hour.
With six main contenders left Dookie launched an attack that was quickly reeled in by the others. By the 30km mark Kurt Maraj launched a blistering attack. Despite hesitating, Williams responded to close the gap but was confronted with a powerful counter attack by Forde which was only matched by Kurt Maraj with the two opening a gap.
Kirk Maraj who is experienced in terms of tactics, hammered away at the front closing the gap on his brother while Forde brought Dookie and Elvis Joseph back in, with Williams out of the pack about 10 seconds behind which he never recovered from. ?   Dookie was only able to last another 10 km with the leaders as the Maraj twins and Forde kept hammering up front, bringing the bunch up to 55 km at times.
Kurt Maraj kept doing most of the pacing up front ably assisted by Forde and his brother Kirk. Joseph a cyclist of the late 1980’s and early 90’, showed his experience and determination by hanging in there for another 25 km, sitting in on the trio of the Maraj Twins and Forde.
By the 60 km mark, the trio of the Maraj twins and Forde decided it was enough of a free ride for Joseph. They raised the tempo and disposed of him from the lead group as his experience was not able to help compensate for the probable lack of endurance and form for this race. Joseph faded backwards, while Winston Williams kept hammering at the back on his own limiting his loses by overtaking Joseph into fourth place on the road. ? ?    At the 70 km mark, Kirk Maraj struggled to keep up with the pace of his brother Kurt and Forde who clearly looked stronger. Forde and Kurt Maraj kept the tempo going with Kurt doing most of the work with Forde clearly easing out at times to allow Kirk to hang on. The three had clearly decided to stick together as they had done most of the work to guarantee the first three places.
The riders could be seen in conversation with 5 km to go as they kept the pace steady and high. They rode across the finish line without contesting a sprint with Kurt Maraj first, Forde second and Kirk Maraj third. Winston Williams finished in fourth.  Just over three minutes behind was Joseph in fifth spot followed by Fidel Esnard.
Eustace Dookie and Joseph seemed unable to take the heat and abandoned not finishing the race.
Kevin Reddock was first among junior riders who covered a distance of 44 km. His time was 1:20.49. Damian Mathurin was second (1:25.42) and Yannick Flavius third (1:29.01).?   The Police must be thanked for a remarkable job in managing the traffic during the race.
In other news, the SLCA is hosting a 42 km Individual Time Trial on Sunday from 7 am. Often referred to as “The Race of Truth”, the Time Trial is from Ravine Poison to the Cul de Sac junction and back 2.5 times.
Cyclists will attempt the course record of 1:00.03 set by Kurt Maraj on June 20, 2010.

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