Shaquel Agard in a time of two hours, six minutes and fifty-four seconds (2:06:54) won the first stage of the 20th Cheddi Jagan Memorial cycle road race and in the process erased Marlon “Fishie” Williams’s 2016 2:15:10 record.
Agurd approached the finish line with Alanzo Ambrose and proved he is better as both men got off their seats for a 200-meter sprint to the finish line, but after the first 50 meters, Ambrose was forced to settle for second place.
Third place went to Hamza Eastman ahead of Paul De Nobrega, Orville Hinds and Michael Anthony in that order.
Ambrose was part of a group of six riders who broke away when the riders were sent off from outside Freedom House at Main and Charlotte Streets in New Amsterdam. It was Hinds who made the bold move and started the attack after the riders had completed 15 miles of the race.
Agard and Eastman followed and took with them more than a dozen other riders on operation ‘catch back’. It took them ten miles of thoughtful tactical riding before the mission was completed just as the leaders were about to turn around at Number Fifty-one Village.
The earlier leaders were sent to the back of the peloton with only Ambrose being able to maintain the blistering 40-kilometers per hour speed in the hot Corentyne sun. However, the riders were benefiting from wind assistance as they made their way toward the finish line.
With the last four miles left in the race the top six had already been decided as no one seemed capable enough to make a late challenge.
Agard, Ambrose, Eastman, De Nobrega and Hinds all had a chance until the two pulled away. After what was eventually a casual finish, there was stiff competition for the third position. De Nobrega made the first jump with the finish line in sight. He was followed by Eastman who came from behind to pass De Nobrega just on the finish line.
Meanwhile, the first junior to cross the finish line was Curtis Day. Second place went to Marcus Kieles.
The veterans saw Junior Niles who has taken part in all 20 editions of the Cheddi Jagan Memorial as the winner as he successfully defended his title. Second place went to Ivan Jackman with Syborne Farnandes taking the other available place.
The Veterans rode from the starting point in New Amsterdam to Adventure on the Corentyne before turning around to finish at Port Mourant in front of the street leading to the house where the late Dr Cheddi Jagan grew up. Also doing the same route were the females and Mountain Bike riders. The winner in the Mountain Bike category was Shane Bourne, with Nicholas Alphanso second and Julio Melville third, while the first female to cross the finish line was Deance Welch ahead of Shineika Texeier.
The event was organised by National Cycling Coach Hassan Mohammed.
Thirty-five cyclists took part in this year’s event.
Meanwhile, this is the first year that the race will be completed in three stages. Stage two will pedal off on Sunday from Vreed-en-Hoop in Region Three. (Andrew Carmichael/Guyana Times)