Not even the wind from the mighty Atlantic, the 90+ degree heat, Guyana’s best riders or a puncture could deny Paul DeNobrega yesterday.
The Team Evolution standout wheelsman overcame the many obstacles to emerge a worthy winner of the feature 40-lap event of the seventh Digicel Cycling event staged on the circuit outside the GDF compound on Irving Street and Vlissingen Road.
In an extraordinary display of self-belief, strength and stamina, DeNobrega, with the help of Deeraj Garbarran chipped away at the 30-second+ lead that was established by a strong eight-man group from as early as the third lap.
The eight-man unit, which was full of firepower, included the likes of Briton John (second), Jamal John (third), Hamzah Eastman (fifth), Michael Anthony (sixth), Curtis Dey, Trinidadian, Akeel Campbell (fourth), Stephano Husbands and Jornell Yearwood.
The breakaway faction seemingly had firm control of the race as they lapped numerous riders in the field. DeNobrega, winner of the lucrative annual fixture in 2013 had other ideas.
As the leaders jostled for position, playing a ‘cat and mouse’ game, DeNobrega, who had missed the initial break worked tirelessly with Garbarran and they kept a steady pace, chipping away at the advantage.
The race stuck to the script until DeNobrega, who had to change a rear wheel before reconnecting with the leaders in lap 31, in a surprisingly brave tactic, changed gears again and took control of the race.
He switched into time trial mode and with the encouragement of the fans lining the streets, the 24 year-old grounded out a come-from-behind win, cashing in on the $20,000 mega prime in the third to last lap along with the winner’s spoils in 1h: 41m.23s.
As customary at the end of the event, representatives of Digicel presented a cheque to a member of the Cancer Institute of Guyana.
It was worth a half a million dollars.