The 34th annual Independence Three-Stage road race which concluded on Sunday failed to live up to its billing.
The longest local tenured cycling event which coincided with the ‘Golden Jubilee’ celebrations was expected to be a grand affair. However, it was a damp squib and was one of the slowest in recent memory and failed to attract any notable regional wheelsmen.
It was once again dominated by Team Evolution cyclists, (Orville Hinds, Michael Anthony and Marlon ‘Fishy’ Williams) who swept the podium AGAIN and placed four riders in the top six without breaking much of a sweat.
Not a knock on the team which has won 17 of the 20 open races this season, but this past weekend clearly showed that the cycling has been significantly watered down on the local circuit.
The absence of the Team Coco riders, (Raynauth Jeffrey, Hamza Eastman, Chris Holder, Jamal John, and Stephano Husbands) and Geron Williams who are all campaigning overseas, have had a direct impact on the standard of racing in Guyana.
Hinds, who won two stages and placed second in the other, rode much slower than he did last year as the peloton lacked any fire power. Hinds took the spoils last year in six hours, 50 minutes and 37 seconds.
Fast forward to this year, he completed the 171-mile course in seven hours, 10 minutes and seven seconds.
That is almost 20 minutes slower. Yes you read right 20 minutes slower than last year which also did not attract any notable foreign riders.
The organizers who were challenged by Nicolette Henry to make the event more attractive, should start by raising the prize money which is a paltry $US350 for the winner.
More sprint prizes should also be on offer in an effort to make the declining race much faster.
This year was a hit and miss, one can only hope that for the 35th edition, it can live up to its billing.