August 29, 2014
Antiguans team up to sweep OECS Cycling Championships

Employing team work to perfection, Antigua and Barbuda’s cyclists swamped the podium at the 2014 National Lotteries Authority OECS Cycling Championships, which took place in St Vincent and the Grenadines last Sunday.{{more}}

From the starter’s gun at Colonarie, it was all Antigua and Barbuda, and when the sprint to the finish line came for the top places, it was the same.

Taking the 70-mile event was Jyme Bridges who clocked 3 hours 16 minutes 6.828 seconds. Second was Robert Marsh in 3 hours 16 minutes 6.978 seconds and third – last year’s winner Andre Simon, in 3 hours 16 minutes 7.216 seconds, as the Antiguans took the first, second and third places.

The Antiguans’ total domination was interrupted by St Lucia’s Kurt Maraj who placed fourth in 3 hours 20 minutes 19.473 seconds, as Tasheed Gordon, also of Antigua and Barbuda, was the fifth to cross the finish line.

Gordon’s time was 3 hours 20 minutes 20.457, as he and Maraj wheeled their way in close pursuit to stop the clock.

The 70-mile course began at Colonarie, took the cyclists to Caratal in Georgetown, then back to Mt Grenan Gap, which they were required to traverse eight and a half times.

A joyous Bridges in reviewing his team’s efforts, told SEARCHLIGHT at the end of the race: “That is what we came to do… We came with a plan and it worked out.”

Bridges, who had, at one point of the race, almost a three-minute lead on the peloton, noted that he broke free on the second lap, which allowed Marsh and Simon to keep the main bunch in check, and they then teamed up on the final lap to sweep the three top places.

Whilst others complained of the sweltering heat and the course, Bridges differed, stating, “The course favoured me a lot because I am a good climber… It was a very hot day – a very long race and if you don’t eat or drink properly you might just run out of steam … I kept hydrated every two to three minutes.”

Twenty-seven cyclists began the race with 20 making it to the finish line.

Host St Vincent and the Grenadines was represented by 12 cyclists; Antigua and Barbuda – five, with Grenada and St Lucia – three, Anguilla – two and St Kitts/Nevis and the British Virgin Islands – one cyclist each. (RT)