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Mar 29, 2005

Another U.S. rider wins cross country

Story PictureJames Adderley, Reporting
Good evening, I?m James Adderley and you?ve tuned in with this post-Easter edition of Sports Monday which naturally translates into coverage of the seventy-seventh annual cross country cycle classic staged on Holy Saturday.

We open with this shot of the national road champion Shane Vasquez of Western Spirit resplendent in the colours of the Sub-Umbra Floreo–carrying on his back the hopes of an adoring Belizean public.

Speaking of the public they are out in full force today for the start of the one hundred and forty mile ride to San Ignacio and back hoping and praying that the cross country title could return home today.

At the start there are some one hundred master and elite riders in the hunt including some twenty foreign competitors hailing from the United States, Mexico and Guatemala.

Around mile fourteen on the way to San Ignacio, Giovanni ?Froggy? Leslie decides to test the waters grabbing this station prize, to begin a run of seven straight through the Hattieville area. He would finish with some twelve premies from this particular event.

The next athlete to mount a solo flight is his Santino?s team-mate, Jeffrey Zelaya, who takes the Belmopan juncture and every other available prize until he is reeled in around Teakettle.

At the halfway mark Giovanni ?Froggy? Leslie has recovered to mount this challenge on the Guatemalan rider Mario Sejas and he does it on the historic Hawksworth Bridge in impressive fashion.

Of course we must remind you after seventy miles the chase bunch with all the big names including Ernest Meighan, Chris Harky and Ian Smith remain within striking distance.

Nevertheless coming out of Santa Elena, its the Mexican rider Luis Anila accompanied by Joan Gonzalez of Santino?s putting on a show Anila would string off about six preemies in a row.

At Roaring Creek Ernest Dangalay Thurton decides he wants the Belmopan preemie on the return flight–he takes it but that would be the last we would hear from him.

In the meantime folks Ernest Meighan and Roger Troyer share the lead at mile thirty-one only to see Windell Williams sneak in for the station prize.

After that this American Scottie Wees riding for Guinness Seahawks takes over the pace and we must say he does a yeoman?s job at that and it is around here that Ernest Meighan suffered his spill from a broken pedal.

This brings us to the big eight in control of the action with some fourteen miles to the finish. Roger Troyer, Scottie Wees, Jose Choto, Vernon Terry, Douglas Lamb, Big Mike Lewis and the American Erneas Freyre.

But wait a minute, this four man chase croup led by William Elliston along with fellow American and defending champion Chris Harky show real potential and they do catch up with the lead pack to institute a new configuration. Meaning it?s a brand new ballgame.

When we arrived at the very crowded Marion Jones Sporting Complex for the big finish it?s three Americans on the pace: William Elliston, Chris Harky and Erneas Freyre.

In the winning lap, Ernest Meighan tries to make a move, but it?s Big Mike Lewis who is able to execute and in a blistering display of speed, crosses over to make it a four man sprint. Anthony Taylor also joins this lead unit.

Thus thirty-six-year-old William Elliston attacks from the inside lane. Big Mike Lewis responds immediately, but it?s the Comfort Air rider, who wears the garland in his very first attempt in a time of five hours, fifty-eight minutes and fifty seconds. Big Mike Lewis finishes second.

Erneas Freyre, Elliston?s team-mate takes third, Chris Harky settles for fourth place in 2005. Anthony Taylor also of Comfort Air pulls up fifth while Mateo Cruz of Santino?s finishes sixth. The deadly Scottie Wees of Guinness takes seventh place, while Leslie Sanchez riding for North side Laundromat finishes eighth. Rafael Castillo of Cancun rode past the line in ninth place and Elbert Pope of Benny?s Megabytes rounds out the top ten. Only four Belizeans place in the top ten were Big Mike, Mateo Cruz, Leslie Sanchez and Elbert Pope in that order. Of the top five finishers, three were registered as Masters. The champion, Elliston, is thirty-six, the sub-champion, Big Mike Lewis is thirty-eight and the fifth place, Tony Taylor, is thirty-nine, which brings the question where have all the young ones gone? Maybe we?ll find out next year.

James Adderley
?Now you know we are all one ring. What happened in this sprint? Could you take us through this sprint??

William Elliston, Champion, Cross Country 2005
?Well, no one really wanted to work. I mean Chris kind of didn?t want to work understandingly. We had two guys up in that move and we were just kind of rolling it and figured we would just take our own turns on the sprint and try and break up a little bit. I looked back on the back straight and say one guy made contact and I say Anthony Taylor, my other team-mate coming so I kind of sat back and figured I?d try and help Anthony because I know this is a real special race for him. He has done well here before. It took him a little time to get on and I guess he just didn?t have that final kick. So we came around that last bend and I knew it was head and wind sprint and for me it was best to go a little early. So that?s what I try to do.?

?It?s definitely great to get a big win down here. I?ve done a few races down in this neck of the woods, not in Belize but Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe and I came close but I have never won a big event down here. So I am real happy to bring this one home.?

Michael Lewis, Second Place, Cross Country 2005
?Like weh the Belizeans say they di ride fih the Belizeans but Jawmaine ungrateful because when Jawmaine bust out, he saw me coming, he could have continued to catch the other men. Because he sighted me coming he eased up because I never wanted to get under him. But I nuh have no time fih waste with he because he could continue until he catch they white man mek I get a better leg fih sprint with they three man. But I tell you the man dirt me pan di sprint with the winner. The man dirt me cruel. When the man sighted me di come on the right, he shifted out and bruk mi rhythm. So I had to ease up not to tumble down. And that?s illegal because you nuh fih do that. If you sight a man coming you nuh fih haul out because I have the right lane, but I di come left he have right fih do it. But on the outside lane he is not suppose to do it.?

Erneas Freyre, Third Place, Cross Country 2005
?We were lucky all day. We?ve got in the moves and we all came through at the end. So it was fantastic. So it was a good one for Comfort Air and we hope that we would come back in the near future.?

James Adderley
?You finished seventh last year and now you?ve stepped up to third place. What gives??

Erneas Freyre
?No, I like this race. This is my third time and every year I seem to be getting better. I like the distance; I like the par course and as long as you’re aggressive you will do well.?

Mateo Cruz, Sixth Place, Cross Country 2005
?Every year this race is getting harder. At mile seven the guy who won brought me across and I knew my legs were there. Santi came to me and said Mateo you have to do it. I was controlling the front until at the dump site where there was a station prize. I had this guy Mario Sejas working for me and as soon as the station prize came up Megabyte started to attack for the station prizes and I don?t know how these guys ride; I mean save your legs for the sprint because I sacrifice myself for the country. I don?t mind to close the gaps. When men starts to attack for the station prizes that means they don?t want to win this race.?

James Adderley
?I thought the accident to Ernest Meighan affected the Santino team in a real negative way.?

Mateo Cruz
?Yes, that was a really unfortunate accident for Jawmaine. Jawmaine is the best sprinter in Belize right now. I know if had his hundred percent and he was up there in that breakaway all the way I know the turn out would have been better.?

Turning to football scene, Regents Cup Play over the weekend saw Cayo Avengers and Calcutta Bulls battle to a scoreless stalemate, undefeated Sagitun hurt Kulture Yabra three to one, Juventus jolted the San Pedro Seahawks one-zip, while Kremandala Lake kept Print Belize Griga winless in Lake a two-one score.

In other football news the Tide Freshwater Cup 2005 was staged in Toledo over the weekend featuring some ten teams and we want to say congratulations to the Ambassadors making their celebration run of winning the tournament right here.

That?s our show for today and we invite you back same time, same place next week. Jah over all. I?m James Adderley.

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