Over 75 riders, male and female as well as junior cyclists hit the pavement from the North and into Belize City as part of the traditional KREM New Year’s Day Cycling Classic now in its 23rd year.
The 59 riders in the Elite race had to brave a strong tailwind at the start.
It turned out to be a tight race between Santino’s riders and team Belikin Western Spirits including last year’s champion Geovanni Choto but it was not a shining performance for Belikin Western Spirits as many had predicted.
A first breakaway group who appeared to be fighting only to win a thousand dollar Orange Walk prize were left behind by a second breakaway group.
It was an exciting race as the gap between the leading breakaway group and a set of about 5 pacers led by Santino’s Marlon Castillo never exceeded more than 1 minute and a half and also saw a dangerous attack by two Mexicans in the race.
However, neither they nor Geovanni Choto proved a match for Santino’s David Henderon Jr. and Greg Lovell who broke away near Ladyville.
At the tail end of the arduous ride, the two were still at the lead. Henderson who won the race in 4 hours and 5 minutes crossed the finish line only 15 seconds ahead of Greg Lovell.
Third place was taken by their colleague Darnell Barrow in 4 hours 5 minutes and 20 seconds making it a clean sweep for team Santino’s.
4th was Mexican Donisetti Aburto-Vasquez who made the race in 4 hours 5 minutes and 29 seconds. Marlon Castillo came in 5th.
Throughout, the race appeared to be in favor of Kaya who is a sprinter. Indeed, she was not allowing Shalini to make a run for the win, as every time she moved, so did Kaya.
Two hours and 10 minutes into the race however, Shalini began an attack that left behind the other riders.
25 minutes later, Kaya and Shalini were riding side by side with Patricia Chavarria and Kirah Eiley trying to close the gap.
At the end, there was a big sprint from Kaya Cattouse and Kirah Eiley to catch Shalini, herself in a sprint, but that never happened.
Patricia Chavarria came in second and Kaya Cattouse came in a very close third. The winning time for Shalini was 3 hours 12 minutes and 23 seconds. Patricia was only 32 seconds behind and Kaya crossed the finish line only two seconds later.
In the Junior category, 16 riders subscribed to ride the 55 miles from the Orange Walk Town Council to Belize City.
Half hour into the race, Tarique Flowers and Anfernee Young had created a 5 minute lead. They were later joined by two more juniors but Tarique Flowers consistently remained at the front sweeping away many station prizes.
Toward the end of the race, it was Giovanni Lovell and Tarique Flowers both from Team Telemedia who worked hand in hand and at the finish line, Tarique took first place while Geovanni Lovell claimed second.
Tarique Flowers completed the race in 2 hours 45 minutes and 49 seconds while Lovell completed it in one minute and 44 seconds more.
Joslyn Chavarria an unattached rider came in third with a time of 2 hours 50 minutes and 6 seconds.
In the open race, the top 20 finishers walked away with cash prizes while first place winner David Henderson Jr. walks away with BZ $2,250, a trophy and a bull. Greg Lovell received BZ $1,500 and a trophy while Darnell Barrow in third place took home BZ $1,000 and a trophy.
The top 3 finishers in the junior and female category also received a trophy in addition to cash prizes.///