Young pedal pushers excite at Cycling Classic

Sebastien Ribot (foreground) competing in the mountain bike event.

Judging by what transpired at the JQ Charles Group of Companies Independence Cycling Classic on February 22, the St Lucia Cycling Association (SLCA) achieved its objective.
In staging this year’s event, the SLCA targeted young riders with a view to developing the sport. That’s exactly what happened on Independence Day as the association saw the emergence of new talent in various age categories.
In the first race which was the 13 and under one lap BMX , Josiah Murrell emerging victorious over Shermiek Thophille followed by Terris Paul in third place and Giovanni Chance in fourth. The second race,  the 13 and under mountain bike event, Calixte Williams son of Winston “Stoney” Williams and member of the La Clery based Excellers Cycling Club emerging victorious. He is rider we can look forward to, if cycling is included in the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games scheduled for St Lucia. In second place
was Orlando Wilson followed by Sebastian Ribot then Tessa Jn Baptiste the lone female finishing the event.  The next race was the BMX under 15. Dave Charlery emerged the winner followed by Antonio St Rose, Kevin Jean and Calixte Williams.
The three lap under 15 mountain bike race was keenly contested with Oliver Cadet victorious. Orlando Wilson place second ahead of Kevin Jean and Antonio St. Rose.  Next it was now time for the Roadies in the 10 lap event in the Juniors 18 and under with under 14 boys and junior girls.  The event quickly saw a break of three riders consisting of Gillan Moses, his cousin Shandoy and Shervon Didier of Excellers picking up the pace, with Neil Reno of Mon Repos trying to hang on at the back.
The three riders basically outclassed the rest until the final corner where Gillan Moses suffered a crash leaving Shandoy and Didier contesting the sprint. Shandoy pulled away with a clear and powerful sprint to claim victory over Didier. Moses of St Mary’s College placed third after picking himself up, with Neil Reno of Mon Repos fourth.
In the under 14 category Jason Weekes captured firs followed by Kofi Cherry in second place and in 3rd place.
The girls junior event saw Olivia Descartes of Clendon Mason Secondary  finishing first followed by Che` Mangal.?    In the one lap BMX open Francis Jn Pierre of Micoud blasting his way to victory from the gun, followed by Dave Charlery and Nicholas Charlemagne in second and third respectively.  Turning our attention to the 10 lap open mountain bike and five lap female event, Chrissy Popo lapped the entire field in the male category except Andre Charles who finished second with Markeem Morrison and Orlando Wilson finishing third and fourth respectively.
In the female category, Velda Vernege was first across the finish line followed by Janelle Williams and Mathilda Hinkson.  It was now time for the 20 lap open road race with the big boys–the Maraj twins being the favourites expecting challenges from Elvis Joseph, Jordan Richard, Winston Williams and Kenneth Mathurin.
From the first lap the young rider Richard attacked immediately. He went on a solo breakaway and held a 12 second advantage for 11 laps until he suffered a puncture. However he was able to get a free lap and join the main group comprising of the Maraj Twins, Winston Williams, Elvis Joseph and Kenneth Mathurin.
A little later it was Elvis Joseph who suffered a puncture and was unable to continue. As the race got to a close, Mathurin was unable to hold on leaving the two Excellers riders Williams and Richard to contest the sprint against the Maraj twins. It was Kirk who eventually pulled clear to take the victory, with his brother Kurt easily taking second place followed by Williams in third and Richard fourth. The 10 lap points race with riders sprinting for points on every lap, saw Joseph taking off on an early break winning the first two sprints in the process. However, it was the Maraj twins going into overdrive. The twins took most of the points in the remaining sprints with Kurt winning the points race with his brother Kirk in second followed by Joseph and Mathurin.
The final event whoch was a one lap sprint, saw Kurt Maraj blast away in the sprint finish followed by Joseph. He broke up the twins’ domination. Kirk was unable to contest the sprint to the line. His cleats came off the pedals and he settled for third place followed by Mathurin in fourth.
Again in the road events the Maraj twins dominated The SLCA looks forward to it next race a 50 km Road Race scheduled for the last week end in March.

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