Senior cyclist Junior Niles raised the pace barrier for the annual Dr. Cheddi Jagan Memorial cycle road race in Berbice yesterday when he won the event in a blistering time of two hours, eight minutes and 39 seconds (2:08:39).
Niles obliterated last year’s winning time of two hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds (2:29:20) to emerge victorious in the senior race over Raymond Newton and Eric Sankar, who were second and third respectively.
Enzo Matthews was fourth, while Christopher Persaud and junior cyclist Raynauth Jeffrey closed out the top six riders in fifth and sixth respectively.
The race began in front of Freedom House, Main Street, New Amsterdam and proceeded to No. 55 village, Corentyne, before returning to Babu John, Port Mourant for the finish.
The Veterans began their return to Port Mourant from No. 51 Village while the females ended at Port Mourant on the upward journey.
From the inception, the high pace carried by the front runners in the race saw riders being dropped as early as the Canje Bridge and early sections of the Number 19 public road as riders such as Warren McKay, Alonzo Greaves and Robin Persaud were on an early break from the rest of the field.
They pack quickly rejoined the trio and a new energized group, inclusive of the majority of the top six finishers, broke free from the bunch at Rose Hall.
From that point it was heads down and no looking back for the front runners as they widened the gap with their speed and interchanged positions among themselves.
Newton took the spot ahead of the contingent shortly after the cyclists turned back at No. 55, but he was eventually passed by Niles as the closely grouped top six riders approached the finish line in a sprint finish.
In the female category, Naomi Singh did well to keep apace with the male cyclists and won that category comfortably, leaving her two competitors, Berbician Marica Dick and Linden’s Hazina Barrattout of sight as she crossed the finish line.
Dick suffered from cramps and was dropped shortly after she got over the Canje Bridge while Barratt fell back from the pack just off the No. 19 public road but eventually finished the race in second place.
Jeffrey’s rapid rise in the cycling arena was once again evident as he also picked up the win in the junior category after holding his own among the seniors for sixth.
Montel Anthony and Akeem Arthur were the second and third juniors respectively to cross the finish line, but were no match for the pace of Jeffrey as they finished some time after.
Dexter Wilson won the Upright category with Shawn Frank placing second and Shawn Mayers third, while Ian Jackson won the Veterans race with Kennard Lovell and Linden Blackman finishing second and third respectively.
At the presentation ceremony that followed the race, the top finishers were presented with their prizes while special prizes were presented to Walter Isaacs and Monty Parris for being the oldest cyclists competing in the event.
Meanwhile, Newton and McKay picked up two prime prizes each, while Sankar, Matthews, Persaud and Alex Mendes bagged one each.