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The eighty-third annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic will take off of Saturday April 23rd. The cyclists leave the starting point in front of Leslie’s Imports at six in the morning and head to San Ignacio. The riders will make a turn around the Columbus Park and head back to Belize City where they will end at Marine Parade. This year there are around one hundred and thirty riders registered for the big event. An additional twenty to thirty foreign riders from as far as Venezuela and the US will be riding the race. Love News Spoke with Emil Moreno, President of the Belize Cycling Association.

Emil Moreno – President BCA

“Well it has seen a lot of changes through the years. In the past it was on a gravel road, it wasn’t the type of bicycles that they are using today. The bicycles back then had wider tyres, the journey back then used to take three to four days, eventually it began going down where now it is only taking about five hours 40 minutes to complete. This year might be a little different; the teams in this country have invested their money and their time in preparations and riders that have been coming to this country are riders that can break that record. I hope that this year the record is broken by a Belizean. I wish to say that all the cyclists that participate from outside, we don’t want to look at them as foreigners but we want to look at them as a family of cyclists, a brother out there participating so we hope for the best for them as well. We expect that all the teams will participate in the manner that they are supposed to participate. We are hoping will do their part. We are asking that people along the Boulevard if they could not park on the right side of the road that the race will past, into Princess Margaret Drive and into Marine parade, if they could leave that area exclusively for the cycle race.”

Prizes will be handed to first twenty cyclists to make it across the finishing line.

Emil Moreno – President BCA

“The first prize is $5,000.00, a trophy and a garland from Florasol. The first place is donated by Bowen and Bowen. The second prize has been donated by the Belize Bank and it goes from $5,000.00 right down to $50.00 to the 20th place winner. We also have station prizes all along the way from Belize City to San Ignacio and back. I must say that the Chairman of Unitedville has been contributing to the Belize Cycling Association and he has pledged $1,500.00 prize through his village and he will demarcate those tomorrow with the help of the Belize Cycling Association. Mr. John Swift will be out there conducting that. We would want to urge all those folks who normally give and contribute to this event that they can do so today by calling us at 621-0952, 670-0952 or 601-4476.”

This afternoon cyclists participated in the annual parade.


#405904 - 04/22/11 08:29 AM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,631
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For The Glory Of The Garland

Holy Saturday will witness the 83rd. cross country; 123 riders will participate, 22 of them foreign. It's been five years and six days since a Belizean held the garland on April 15th of 2006.

So, at the end of the race on April 23rd., 2011 will another Belizean be doing the same? We'll be honest: it doesn't look great - but like Boledo, any number can play. We went out on the road today - as we have for the past 12 years for the Thursday speed ride - to see who's in it to win it:…

Jules Vasquez Reporting
Let's just say the Thursday speed ride isn't what it used to be - the brotherhood of the ride has been replaced by the obligation to team.

And so in the golden light of Dawn on this Thursday, we found elements of a three teams doing their own training:

Santino Castillo, Owner Santino's
"The three best chances we have which are clearly "Froggy" Leslie, Darnell Barrow and as well as Greg Lovell who has come back home."

Greg Lovell - Traning With Santino's
"Well I am training with Santino's right now and i want to ride with the Santino's team for the Cross Country. I haven't got a release from since I left my last team. I feel happy with this team going into the Cross Country."

Santino Castillo, Owner Santino's
"In any event even if Greg wins in a white jersey he'll be giving thanks and praise to team Santino's when he is done."

Giovanni "Froggy" Leslie - Santino's
"Well of course I have a good chance. If there is no mechanical problem and all goes according to plan, I should feel good because I've been putting in the training."

Darnell Barrow - Santino's
"Well my role on this team is to bring home the bacon. So with that my team needs to back me up, make sure that I don't suspend a lot of energy on the road and bring me to the finish line."

Jules Vasquez
"Who is the main contender on your team."

Perry Gibson, Manager - BENNY'S MEGABYTES
"Jules I have four I believe. A part for the two foreigners I believe Byron Pope and Christian McNish. I have four deep so I have four different options."

Byron Pope, Benny's
"Well this race is a real strong man race and the way the breeze is going right now you got to really pay attention so that any big group don't get away from you and you have to do all the chasing to get across."

Jules Vasquez
"Is there a particular break, a particular race situation that you all are looking for?"

Perry Gibson, Manager - BENNY'S MEGABYTES
Well if there is anything early we have to have representation because then we don't want to have to chase for the pack."

Brandon Cattouse, C-Ray
"Well we don't really gave a big team, we have an all Belizean team, four guys and me, Dion Ordonez, Ron Mckenzie and Mateo Cruz, we don't have any foreigners on our team so I think we have to play a smart role and don't exert to early and try to work down the road so that I can be early up at the front."

Jules Vasquez
"Is there a particular race situation or circumstance you are looking for so that you know when to make the break?"

Brandon Cattouse, C-Ray
"Well I think the break is going late down the road after coming out of the hills after Belmopan. I think that is the correct time to make the move with the break."

And while each team has its own strategy - out on the road - the only thing that matters is muscle - and today two veterans told us, this year - the kids don't have it:

Mateo Cruz - C-Ray
"I think that this is one of the years that the boys ate not ready."

Jules Vasquez
"You mean in terms of conditioning?"

Mateo Cruz - C-Ray
"Preparation wise we train ready, we are not race ready, you understand. Those foreigners come off of some serious race. The last race that we did was 9th March. We haven't really had any solid race and we have to have racing legs, we can't have training legs."

Jules Vasquez
"Are the riders in race ready condition?"

Michael Lewis, Former Champion
"I would advise the riders to stop go on TV to tell lies."

Jules Vasquez
"You think that a lot of them haven't train enough and are not in race shape?"

Michael Lewis, Former Champion
"A lot of them are not in race shape. They are going on TV to tell lies. They need to tell the truth."

Mateo Cruz - C-Ray
"I would say the first three two of them will be foreigners and to make a Belizean win I am telling you that we have to come together and the teams are fighting with one another."

Jules Vasquez
"You think a Belizean will win this year?"

Michael Lewis, Former Champion
"That is a hard question. It can happen, if they ride and leave the white man alone. Let me explain something to you; I am not training six months to go and ride for no foreigners. The guys that are training six months to go and ride for foreigners are a waste of time."

Mateo Cruz - C-Ray
"The way the cycling is going right now - these young guys don't have it, I am telling you. When you hear that they are coming 16 minutes ahead of you and 5 minutes and those things, we are not race ready, we are train ready. we can do 9-10 hours on the bike but when it comes to actually to push down the stretch we don't have it and that is how the foreigners is going to leave us."

Michael Lewis, Former Champion
"Like what I explain to them years ago that I don't have a problem with foreigners coming, let them come on their own and don't let them ride for Belizeans because Belizeans are lazy. When foreigners comes the Belizeans sit back and let the foreigners take over the race from them."

Jules Vasquez
"Mike, why are you always vex with these guys?"

Michael Lewis, Former Champion
"Listen to me, Belizean cyclists are liars. Man, when they do Sunday and Wednesday rides now, they go stop for breakfast. They go to mile 37 now and they stop to eat tacos for half an hour. When they go to Belmopan they stop and eat tacos for half an hour - what kind of training is that?"

And while we hope those cantankerous veterans are not proven right - come race day - as the old saying goes - any number can play:

Jules Vasquez
"Are you nervous?"

Darnell Barrow - Santino's
"Not really, very calm and patient. Just taking day by day as the days goes by."

Mateo Cruz - C-Ray
"My nervous time is when I left my house in the morning and from BelCan to the starting line. People expect a lot from you and they would cheer you on and you realize that people have a lot of love for this sport."

Jules Vasquez
"Is there a dream scenario that you've played out in your head as to how you want this race to play out?"

Brandon Cattouse, C-Ray
"Well the dream scenarios is for me coming home solo and bring home the garland for Belize."

Jules Vasquez
"You think a Belizean can or will win this race?"

Greg Lovell - Traning With Santino's
"Well a Belizean can win the race, but we have to see how it will play out."

Jules Vasquez
"Do you feel that we will have a Belizean first at the finish line this year?"

Perry Gibson, Manager - BENNY'S MEGABYTES
"It is very possible. I think more so than the past 4 years. It's very possible this year; however it is possible only I'd say 2-3 Belizeans at the most I would say."

Darnell Barrow - Santino's
"We are training on this course every day, all on weekends, during the week. We have been putting the time after the 1st of January, so I think we are well prepare this year. The wind condition will play a factor in this year Cross Country because as you can see the wind is blowing very stiff today so we will have to wait and see what will happen on Holy Saturday."

The winner of this year's race gets five thousand dollars cash and a trophy sponsored by Bowen and Bowen.

Channel 7

#405911 - 04/22/11 08:40 AM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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Riders prepare for historic Cycling Classic

Just before news time, riders of the eighty-third Cross Country paraded through the City streets. It’s the traditional pre-race that provides fans with the opportunity to get acquainted with the riders. This year, more than one hundred and twenty will race from Belize City to San Ignacio and back covering over a hundred and forty miles of terrain. This morning, Isani Cayetano found riders checking their bikes and gears in anticipation of the Holy Saturday event.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

While the focus of the annual Holy Saturday Cycling Classic has always been on teams and the individual cyclists attached to them much has not been said about the key players in the background who are as instrumental in making the race a success as those participating in it. Meet Andrew Ordonez, a veteran cyclist for twenty years and an avid sports enthusiast whose role upon retiring from the circuit has been to provide technical support for the many athletes who compete in the big races. Today he is busy servicing a number of high-end bicycles.

Andrew Ordonez, Mechanic, Ordonez Bike Repair & Sales

“The number one thing is that you have to make sure that everything is working properly, your gears, your rims are straight, your breaks are, you know, grabbing and everything, your tires, your chains. You see what happened to Froggy Leslie last year he had a broken chain. Today these bikes are very complex, high-tech but they’re also very delicate so you really have to make sure that everything is in tune before you hit the highway.”

For the hundred and twenty-odd cyclists who will be competing in the grueling race for the garland careful attention must be paid to the mechanics of their bicycle. That includes proper wheels and tires as well as its fixed transmission settings.

Andrew Ordonez

“You need to have wheels that are compatible with your gears; for instance this bike here has a ten speed shift system on it. You don’t want to put an eight speed cog here [because] you won’t have a smooth shifting. It will make noise, it will affect the way the bike rides.”

To ensure smooth sailing on the sweltering asphalt come Saturday morning many cyclists have invested significantly in the upkeep of their bicycles. I was surprised to find out that the average cost for a professional bike starts at a couple thousand dollars.

Andrew Ordonez

“A decent bike, a decent [bike] like what I would call entry level to ride a race would be somewhere around five thousand dollars but you have a lot of guys that you know go beyond that and get ten thousand dollar bicycles. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you would win a race with a ten thousand dollar bicycle but you need your equipment to function properly. That’s the main thing, [having it] function properly. So you need to make sure as I said the tires are important, the chain, your wheels, even your seat, your handlebar that is not broken or anything because, you know, although I have on this tape, underneath this tape you probably had fallen a month ago but you didn’t check and you might have a fracture and then the race day because it’s so long and the road is bad you can break your handlebar. You can break your frame so you need to check every single detail of your bike.”

The key to servicing one’s bike in a timely manner, says Ordonez, is avoiding procrastination.

Andrew Ordonez

“Most of the teams have already taken care of their bikes but you will have like the last minute foreigners who would come in and have maybe a bike being damaged while in transportation, you know, or some final little details that need to be done but I’m here until Friday night, you know. I remember one year Jawmain came to me the morning of the race because his wheel was giving problem and I think Bunas he had a derailleur problem and he came about two o’clock in the morning. That’s like early, it was raining and he also had a derailleur problem but I’m here until the very last.”

The eighty-third running of the annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic commences at six o’clock in front of Leslie’s Imports on the Western Highway. The race will be carried live on Channel Five from start to finish. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

If all goes according to plan, the top riders should cross the finishing line at the Memorial Park before lunch on Holy Saturday. And remember; keep tuned to this station for extensive live coverage of the event with a host of expert commentators.

Channel 5

#405996 - 04/23/11 09:53 AM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2000
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A fantastic event to be in Cayo for, if you have the opportunity!

#406000 - 04/23/11 10:30 AM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Feb 2004
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Go Omar!!!!
Belize Wedding Photography

#406015 - 04/23/11 03:09 PM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2011
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Mighty hot for road riding!

#406298 - 04/27/11 08:27 AM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,631
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Highlights of the Cross Country Classic

Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this portion of Sports Monday.

The 83rd Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic grabbed center stage on Holy Saturday as the entire nation tuned in to be entertained by the biggest one day sporting spectacle in the Jewel. In fact, we dare say fan support was the biggest ever seen in the ride for the garland as Belizeans from all walks of life hoped and prayed that the 4-year drought would not be extended and a Belizean champion would emerge today.

At the starting line in front of Leslie’s Imports are 130 riders, featuring 17 teams which include 3 completely foreign entities, while 16 riders are attempting the 139 Mile journey to San Ignacio as unattached. The tension mounts as can be seen on the faces of the athletes and it is not unexpected since a lot is at stake today. The starting gun brings the ride to life and we’re underway.

When the ride passes the roundabout inside Hattieville some 14 riders seem intent on extricating themselves from the pack this early, but it never was going to work because of the intentions. Just before Rockville, this young rider of the Western Spirit Team, Peter Choto, takes advantage of the indecision and rolls out to what will become a most memorable solo flight that will be etched in the history books.

This is Peter Choto on his way to picking up 26 consecutive station prizes that would total some nine thousand dollars before he would be reeled in after grabbing his last station prize at Galen University, one of his team sponsors.

However, let’s check in the back of the pelathon where we find under 23 riders; Melvin Tillett of Santino and his race supplies spilled all over the highway after crashing inside race. Other riders affected by this crash can include over 50 riders Ras Trevor Vaughan, Santino rider Jeovin Leslie, a Zamir rider and a member of the Indeco Team. Tillett would be unable to continue his journey. And here is Leslie trying to get back into the thick of things and of course these are the variables in the sport of cycling.

But let’s rejoin Peter Choto on his big time solo flight and as we see him pick up another $1000 for his ascent on the summit of Mount Hope, we detect that his 35 Mile run was about to end. In fact, the hounds already have him in their sight with Ernest Meighan just a few seconds off the pace. When Ernest Meighan takes the station prize in memory of Kristopher “Spermy” Chuc,at Mile 64, signals the end of Peter Choto’s solo flight. Indeed the youngster had done his damage but he too was done.

Meanwhile, Kyle Gentle might have taken the halfway prize, but coming out of Hawksworth Bridge is Edgar Orozco of Santino’s who picks up the pace to grab the next 6 station prizes that would end at the Esperanza premie. Wilmer, who finished 2nd last year for Team Zamir asserts himself at Running W. Meats. When the race rolls through Camalote Village, the new configuration finds Chris Harkey, Shane Vasquez, Patrick Bennett, Wilmer, Luis Marroquin and Juan Rojas on the pace.

At Roaring Creek, Chris Harkey again plays his game egging on the pack to sprint for the premie—so he takes it uncontested followed by Patrick Bennett as Shane Vasquez hangs on. Around Mile 25, Chris Harkey’s numerous attacks have taken its toll on Shane Vasquez and everybody else in that lead group. The new leaders are now Jeremy Coun, the man Harkey was setting up, Belize’s hope, Darnell Barrow had stepped up; so did Guatemalan Luis Santizo of Sugar City Stars and Carlos Hernandez riding for the Guatemalan National Team completes the lead four.

James Adderley

We’re now inside Hattieville and Darnell Barrow is battling Jeremy Conn as Luis Santiago just hangs on for the free ride.

Carlos Hernandez in the meantime shows signs of struggle.

And here’s the chase group that includes Shane Vasquez who is trying to recover as Chris Harkey stays on his wheel.

We go to the aerial view as the lead three looks to cross the Burton Bridge and we question why Darnel Barrow is doing all the pacing.

At Old Belize its Barrow again looking like he’d like to runaway.

In the meantime this chase group is coming hard at the leaders and its bringing Shane Vasquez.

Around mile 2 Luis Santiago finally decides to stop playing possum as he attacks the other 2 who had begun to conclude it was a 2 man race. Stunned neither rider could come up with a response.

In front of Leslie’s Imports they look at each other as they realized they’ve been had.

At Belcan Bridge the Sugar City rider continues to reap the rewards as his move rolling with vigor towards the tape.

And here he is crossing the finish line to claim the 83rd Annual Cross Country Cycle Classic in 6 hours 8 minutes and 10 seconds giving Sugar City Starz Cycling Club a 2nd garland in the 2 years.

Carlos Hernandez riding for the Guatemalan National Team pulls up for 2nd place. And out of the blue 2006 champion Shane Vasquez of Western Spirits rolls in to take 3rd place – just 50 seconds off the pace – had his management spotted the Chris Harkey move maybe Shane would have had his 2nd garland this Holy Saturday.

Meanwhile Jeremy Conn of Hencapie tried to bring Darnell Barrow in but had to abandon that effort to take 4th.

While Darnell Barrow of Santino’s had to settle for a disappointing 5th place – had his management recognized that Santiago had been getting a free ride things might have been different for this rider.

We watch the remaining riders roll in we must say that this time the failure for the Belizean win must be laid at the door of the managers who were caught playing checkers when it was a chess game at hand. Of the 130 that started only 57 finished the course.

Shane Vasquez

Shane Vasquez of Western Spirit/Galen Eagles won the Masters Class. Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes won the U-23 category. Wasani Castro of Clear the Land took the U-18 class. While the over 50 category was won by Anthony Taylor – the American Jamaican Trevor Vaughn of Belcan finished second while 56 year old Glen Gordon took 3rd.

Shane Vasquez

“I tried my best so I did a couple attacked. The guys counterattack me and then eventually I did another attack and I gained a gap over the group that I was it. But there was one Guatemalan who sat on my wheel and I was calling him around, but he neva wanted to come around. l but when it comes to race statics and so forth it was a better chance for me to take one guy rather than bring that whole crowd that I was with. Unfortunately he attacked me when I caught up with Darnell Barrow and the American, but I still went through because I neva know another Guatemalan was up running.”

Darnell Barrow

Darnell Barrow

“At mile 2, he attacked me like two time. I try to move. The first attack, I followed him. I come around to show him I want to push it, let’s go he sat down. I paced, he attack me again. I tried to move, I got up, give everything I got, but just couldn’t caught him when he made the final move.”

In other cycling news, the 6th Annual Pablo Marin Cycling Classic is set for this Sunday, may 1st and it starts at Miami Beach Corozal, goes to Santa Elena border, heads to Oragne Walk and then swings back to finish where it started.

Jah overall, I’m James Adderley.

#406302 - 04/27/11 08:32 AM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,631
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Cross Country: Epic Heartbreak

There's nothing we can do to over-hype the Cross Country - it really is one of the greatest single day races in the hemisphere…and similarly, there's nothing we can do to ease to the country's collective torment because - for the second year in a row - a Guatemalan crossed the line first on Holy Saturday 2011.

What went wrong? What could have been done differently? Will it happen again next year? We'll leave those questions to the experts and the answers to the angels - all we have is our annual race report, a pedal by pedal account of who did what in the 140 mile run. Our team of Codie Norales and Jose Gomez saddled up and rode along - here's what they saw:…

At the start there were 133 riders - 107 of them were Belizeans - two Venezuelans, 4 Costa Ricans, 8 Guatemalans, 5 Mexicans, 4 Americans and one Jamaican.

Leroy Cassasola of Team Santino's was among them - he's the national road champion

The Choto brothers of Western Spirit bowed their heads in prayer to the cycling Gods. Wwhile Mike Lewis - 1992 Champion was battle ready and so was race favourite Geovanni Froggy Leslie along with two time Champion Chris Harkey and his all US team the Hincapie Green Creation.

At 6:00 am sharp - they set off in a burst of motion. At mile 10, American Jeremy Quan and Venezuelan Gil Corodovez made an attempt to break away. Around mile 11, we were there for the first spill of the race, which claimed Froggy Leslie and Chistian Mcnish.

Froggy Leslie tried to go out immediately but his wheel had to be reset. Shortly after, he was back out on the road, labouring with a few lacerations to show for it - with Team-mate Patrick Bennett trying to bring him back to the pack. At Hattieville Nieves Carrasco from Bel Cal won the station prize beating out a group of about 16 to claim that prize.

Somewhere around Rockville, Peter Choto broke away and by the time he reached mile 25 he was already over a minute ahead of the chase group. Around mile 27, he was being chased by two from Indeco Erwin Middleton and Tariq Cano.

Meanwhile a group of 18 including Nissan Arana, Gil Cordovez, Marlon Castillo, Shane Vasquez, Chris Harkey and a few others were more than two minutes behind. But approaching mile 32, Peter Choto drove on at the front representing for Western Spirit Galen Eagles. Meanwhile this was what the main peloton looked like as it fanned out across the highway - as they are powered by a favourable tailwind.

At mile 40 Peter Choto was not letting up - he was a minute and a half ahead of the 18 man chase - as he stood up on his pedals. Loyal Belizean fans with a preference for C-Ray lined up on the roadside.

At the Belmopan Cutoff - Peter Choto was still comfortably in the lead - scooping up over $1,500 dollars in cash and prizes between the junction and the top of Roaring Creek Hill, one of the richest stretches of road in the race.

At the back - the chase group of 18 is about to be gobbled up by the peloton - coming through the haze of bush fires. At Mount Hope, Peter Choto won 400 dollars and a trophy in memory of Rhett Reyes as he is the first rider over that steep climb. By that time, the chase collapsed into the main pack was only 30 seconds behind, as they powered over Mount Hope with remarkable ease.

At go-slow the main pack stayed tightly packed, compressed by the treacherous uphill. Meanwhile at the front approaching Floral Park - Peter Choto was joined by Wilmen Bravo, along with his youngest brother and team-mate Daniel Choto, and an attacking Marcos Salas.

At Georgeville Daniel Choto easily took the prize. Around mile 65 former two time champ Ernest Jawmiane Meighan comes like a bullet from the pack to claim two station prizes. Coming over the Hawkesworth bridge at the halfway point - it's Kyle Gentle of Cayo High Road, a junior rider who is first across the bridge and first around Columbus Park in two hours thirty three minutes, some two minutes off the halfway record time. Heading back to the city - with Ya Ya Marin providing a furious play by play commentary - the rest of the cyclist slingshot around the park for the final 70 miles of the race.

While the team Zamir manager tried to make repairs to a bicycle. Inside Teakettle on the return there was an established seven man breakaway that included Venezuelan Wilmen Bravo, Patrick Benett, Shane Vasquez, American Chris Harkey, Guatemalan Louis Marroquin, and Costa Ricans Juan Carlos Rojas, Neives Carrasco

At Ontario Community Center, Nieves Carrasco of Team Belcal - outsprinted Rojas for the station prize. While At Ontario Village, Juan Carlos Rojas took that prize. At the corner known as Brick Wall, the lead group of 7 was over five minutes ahead - led by Nieves Carrasco - who was doing all the work with the rest of the group sitting back.

But the main pelethon looked to be chasing - forming a straight line around the winding corner, a picturesque scene which told nothing of the riders' physical anguish. At Roaring Creek, two time Champion American Chris Harkey launched a solo attack - and easily took the station prize of one bull.

And he was being chased by Patrick Bennett and the other five riders. At mile 46, Chris Harkey was now officially on a solo run. While he was comfortable in the lead for a few miles - shortly after, around mile 44, he was caught by five riders as Nieves Carrasco who held the front for so long was dropped from this group.

Around mile 42 - the six man breakaway is still together - But the lead is now down to about a minute - with the chase now being led by team Guatemala.

Race favourite Brandon Cattouse is part of the chase, but he got temporarily derailed on the descent of Beaver Dam Bridge leaving him with the unenviable task of having to catch up with the main group.

Approaching Cheers there was a new configuration at the front as American Jeremy Conn in the lead with Guatemalan National Team Rider Carlos Hernandez, Darnell Barrow of Santino's, and Luis Santizo Guatemalan of Sugar City stars had broken clear. At mile 24 and a half Jeremy Conn snuck out of fourth place position to take the hundred dollar station prize and made his competitors know that it's his with a dismissive wave.

That wave could as well have been for the entire pack as the race commissar said the time gap is two minutes forty two seconds. After riding over a hundred miles, riders have to eat and drink - and Darnell Barrow was serviced and bathed by his team.

At Rockville the lead four remained the same as Luis Santizo led the way. At Hattieville, the lead group was down to three as Carlos Hernandez was dropped and Darnell Barrow was punching at the pedals - with Jeremy Conn and Luiz Santizo on his wheel.

A cramping Carlos Hernandez was calling for a massage while Wilmen Bravo, Lisandro Acju, Donicetti Vasquez, Shane Vasquez, John Delong, AJ Meyers, Juan Carlos Rojas and Marlon Castillo were in hot pursuit.

Local favourites Brandon Cattouse and Byron Pope were also trying to catch up. Back at the front - as we approached mile 12 - the lead group of 3: Barrow, Santizo and Conn drove on. At mile 10 - there was no new wrinkle to report, except that the chase group of 20 riders was just a minute behind - led by Marlon Castillo and Wilmen Bravo.

At mile 8, Darnell Barrow took the station prize as Santizo and Conn sat tight. Around mile 7 the time gap between the break and the chase group was 55 seconds. And maybe this is why Darnell Barrow made an attack - but it's futile, the foreign riders stayed glued on him.

So at mile 6, the lead three drove on. Less than a minute later the chase group of 20 were still in hot pursuit. At the police checkpoint - the three were still in the lead and the last time check showed that the chase group was still less than a minute behind.

Just before the Faber's Road junction, Luis Santizo launches an attack - American Jeremy Conn is dropped while Darnell Barrow hangs on. Around mile two - Santizo keeps on grinding and Barrow - the last Belizean hope has been dropped.

As we enter Lord Ridge Cemeter - it's déjà Vu as a Guatemalan rider riding for Sugar City is all alone heading into the city - there's nothing to cheer about as he pulls some huge gears into the city. Flying through town - it's all over - he will come in unaccompanied on princess Margaret drive the crowd of onlookers is mute. Crosses the line solo.

Guatemalan Carlos Hernandez recovers an pulls up for second. While Shane Vasquez - at third - is the first Belizean across the line and American Jeremy Conn is fourth.

And a very self satisfied Darnell Barrow blows a kiss to a heartbroken crowd as he crosses the line fifth. Wilmen Bravo wins the spring to finish sixth beating out John De Long and Andrew Mires who would finish seventh and eighth respectively. While Brandon Cattouse finished ninth and Lisandro Acju rounds out the top ten - making three Belizeans and seven foreigners in the top ten.

And while that was the race, here now is the reaction.

Jules Vasquez Reporting
The Belizean fans who went out to the memorial park to watch the end of the race definitely didn't want to see this - a Guatemalan crossing the line first - for the second year in a row.

When Luis Santizo draped the garland around his neck - he became the second Guatemalan to do so in as many years…

And he stood on the podium with another Guatemalan Carlos Hernandez - to his right - another domination of the national race.

So what went wrong? Darnell Barrow who stalked the winner on the road for so long gave us his account:

Darnell Barrow, fifth
"Shane came from behind with a foreigner and he was driving the foreigner. Shane came and catch and went and left me in the end."

Jules Vasquez
"How would you have like that to play out?"

Darnell Barrow, fifth
"I mean you can't wait for the sub-foot, if you see the break you have to put yourself there. I finally put myself there and what it takes to try to win, It was my first chance at the front, I feel the wind and the pain and everything."

Jules Vasquez
"But where was your team?"

Darnell Barrow, fifth
"I don't know. I didn't have any legs."

Jules Vasquez
"Darnell says that you rode past him around fisheries and you had a foreigner behind you. You basically bringing in the foreigner, he says who ended up beating you."

Shane Vasquez, 2006 Champ, third
"Well yes it was a Guatemalan, I tried to get him to work, he didn't want to work but then if you look at it I am not a sprinter so I would take a chance with any other individual than with 3-4 guys. I am not a sprinter so I rather take a chance and try to beat him out just by high pacing but unfortunately he attack me."

Jules Vasquez
"Shane, are you satisfied with the outcome of this race?"

Shane Vasquez, 2006 Champ, third
"Well I have work really hard this year - earlier this year to train to win. I am not training to come in third, I am training to win the race and unfortunately I never won the race so it just says that I have to work harder next year. I got to wait another year for the race again. To come into the cross country another year from now I would have to work on different tactics other than just heavy pacing and so forth because I notice that coming in the last part of race most riders are coming in now in big groups so now that would then say that I have to work a little bit on sprinting."

And while Shane and Darnell will have to wait another year, Santizo - who has raced and placed in Belizean events before says he knows the significance of this race:

Luis Santizo, Winner 2011 Cross Country
"The sentiment is a great emotion because winning this race is very important; the one who wins this race I believe passes on to history. God help me with this triumphant and I am very happy and I don't have word to tell you my emotions, this is for my family there in Guatemala."

Damian Gough, Manager Sugar City
"The strategy for today as for the strategy last year was to work for Marlon. When we came down into the last 4-5 miles of the race however you can't gamble the win, a win is a win and we'll take that win anytime and I hope the Belizean public understands that this is just the nature of how the bicycle unfolds. Yourself as well as commentators realize this and I am sure that you appreciate that we couldn't sacrifice the winners."

Marlon Castillo, 18th
"Well I put out my all. I feel like I ride the best, I ride like a champion today but like what I tell you it was hard for me to get across myself."

And while the riders of promise were disappointed - in this race, there's always the hope of youth re-captured:

Jules Vasquez
"As a two-time champion did you have visions of the impossible hat trick?"

Chris Harkey, 2003, 2004 Champ, 46th.
"There is always that vision, don't get me wrong, I would love to win but I knew on the way back I was already committed to that move. It's not usually the way you want it to be but you have to do your part. My day will happen again, it will happen again."

Jules Vasquez
"The crowd out here is heartbroken. Again a Belizean didn't win. If you were in your days?"

Glen Gordon, 56 years old, 52nd, 29th. Race
"It wouldn't have happen like that. They would have had to kill me on the bike."

Santizo is the third Guatemalan to take home the garland. Gustavo Carillo did it in the year two thousand, Miguel Perez did it last year and now it's Luis Santinzo. Belizeans earned only three spots in the top ten finishers of this year's race. The finishing time of six hours and eight minutes is almost half hour slower than the record set in 2008….

Channel 7

#406347 - 04/27/11 06:36 PM Re: 83RD CROSS COUNTRY CYCLING CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,391
Katie Valk Offline
Katie Valk  Offline
Shane Vasquez coulda/shoulda, if only dem boys worked together. Next year.

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