Riders On The Storm

Posted By: Marty

Riders On The Storm - 02/15/11 03:32 PM

Eighty riders lined up for the 16th. Annual Digicell Valentine's Classic which was held yesterday on the Western highway. It went from San Ignacio to Benque and then whipped back to Belize.

But while the hills and the headwind are known variables, what no one could have factored in was all the rain that poured down. It soaked everyone, from cyclists to officials, even to our camera crew. But once there's a finish line you've got to reach it - and here's how that played out on the wet and wild western highway:

Jules Vasquez Reporting
All the hometown cycling stars queued up at the sign-in, at San Ignacio hotel Rafael Choto", Shane Vasquez and Jose Choto as well as perennial contenders, Gregory Lovell, Marlon Castillo and Costa Rican Marcos Salas from team Benny's - the runaway winner of the New Year's day classic

At the second stadium prize at Marshalleck stadium in Benque Viejo - Christian Mcnish beats out Ron Vasquez for the prize.

At Succotz Hill Jose Choto is the man in the lead - leading a group of about 11.

At the Texaco gas station, Jose Choto again beats out Christian Mcnish.

In case you're wondering what's happening here - at the Hawkesworth bridge which is even slippery when dry - the riders were mandated to go slowly down cement hill and across the bridge - and then they re-started over in Santa Elena.

This is what it looks like travelling at 30 miles per hour in the rain after the restart at the station prize at go slow Jairo Campos of team typhoon leads the pack but not for long around Ontario village, Shane Vasquez of Western Spirit and Allen Castillo of Team Zamir have broken clear riding through the storm, the two leaders keep up on it.

Even though the rain would not relent at Roaring Creek Allen Castillo takes the station prize and the time gap now reported to be over a minute.

At La Democracia the lead remains the same Shane Vasquez took the station prize and remained neck and neck with Allen Castillo.

Around mile 24 there is a new configuration - Castillo and Vasquez have been reeled in and the picture you are watching is the solitary figure of Lisandro Acju a Guatemalan riding for Santino's - who is no stranger to Belizean cycling and he easily takes the station prize in Hattieville.

Around mile 14, the chase is being led by Team Zamir, Marlon Castillo and two Guatemalans, Luis Santizo and Danilo Marroquin still around mile 12, the time gap between them and the leader was a minute and forty seconds.

Lisandro Acju still looked strong after 70 miles and while the chase group worked around mile 7 the time gap has grown to one minute forty six and the leader shows no sign of letting up - at Burton Canal bridge - it seems to be all over coming into the city, he is still confident.

And at the line, Acju pops his collar and finishes in 3:28:36.

Lisandro Acjo, First - Team Santino's
"He thanks the public who has treated him like a Belizean who know his name and has always supported him whenever he comes here."

And 57 second s later, Darnell barrow outsprints Jose Choto and Marlon Castillo

Darnell Barrow, Second, Team Santino's
"I was punishing in the hills because I gain a little pound so that put a strain on me but when I reach the flat I was feeling very good."

In the sprint for sixth Gregory Lovell is across the line with Froggy Leslie on his wheel.

Acju indicated that he will be back for the cross country. In the junior category - Kyle Gentle Of Cayo High Road was first. In the youth category, first place was Eiden Juan, Of Cayo High Road.

In the female category Shalini Zabaneh Of Team Sagitun still reigned supreme, and in the master's category - Ernest Meighan finished first, Michael Lewis was second and David Balam finished third.

The Next big event on the cycling calendar is - Belmopan annual cycling classic on March 13th.

Channel 7

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