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Mar 29, 2004

Ernest Meighan wins Natl. Road Championship

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Good evening, I’m James Adderley with this week’s version of Sports Monday. The fifth National Road Championship spanned three major highways and brought out some eighty athletes in various categories for the only event in the cycling calendar that is exclusive to Belizean riders.

We join the eight a.m. start at the outskirts of Dangriga for the one hundred and twenty mile journey that used to finish at Mount Hope, but now is heading towards the Marion Jones Sporting Complex inside Belize City.

Around Pomona this twelve-man unit tries to execute a breakaway by working together, but it wouldn’t last for long. At the approach to the famed Hummingbird Hills, the Choto brothers of Cayo, Jose and Rafael, give a clinic on how to take the hills.

And of course, this is how you conquer the legendary gap on a bicycle.

Some twenty miles outside of Belmopan, Juan Gonzales and Elbert Pope have become the new leaders in this race. On entering Capital City, it’s a five-man lead featuring Ernest Meighan, Douglas Lamb, Keith Enright, Shane Vasquez, and Ian Smith.

When the riders reach Rockville, it’s a head-on clash between Ernest Meighan and Ian Smith. And here they are leaving the Western Highway on their journey to Burrell Boom.

However, at the Boom Bridge the lead has ballooned to five as Mateo Cruz, Preston Martinez, and Jeffrey Zelaya have made their presence felt.

So now we’re on the Northern Highway and the lead five is still intact and would travel together all the way to around mile seven.

And just before the Haulover Bridge Ernest Meighan makes the definitive move of the National Road Championship 2004. And here he is making sure his lead sticks despite the furious charge behind him.

Yes people, it’s Ernest Meighan triumphantly entering the Marion Jones Sporting Complex in solo fashion. There are no challengers and certainly no doubt as Jawmeighan wins his second National Road Championship in three years.

Around the corner Mateo Cruz cruises in to make it a Santino sweep of the top two positions.

Ian Smith of Guinness Smiling then has to out sprint Jeffrey Zelaya of Santino’s to grab third place, while Preston Martinez of M and M Engineering, steps up to round out the top five.

Ernest Meighan, National Road Champion

“Last year gave it up because of my team-mates and we all worked as a team and we gave Ariel a win this National Road Championship. Jeffrey Zelaya, he got his break and Mateo Cruz on the end, but Ian Smith was very strong. We got to give Ian much credit because we got the advantage at the end, but Ian was very strong. He realised that we got the advantage and he got to release someone of us, so nuff credit to Ian Smith.”

Mateo Cruz, 2nd Place, Natl. Road Championship

“Santi told me to attack, and I told him, chief, I’m cramping up. He said, Mateo I know you have it, attack. And I attacked, and I was surprised, I saw the gap opening and I started levelling off, but the cramps started to come and I just gave up.”

Ian Smith, 3rd Place, Natl. Road Championship

“I just believe it was a good race. I was a bit outnumbered at the end, but all in all I did my best.”

Q: You didn’t have as much help today, do you think that problem is still going to exist on Holy Saturday?”

Ian Smith

“Well everyday is a new day, so I can’t really think about Cross Country right now and say that because I didn’t have help today I won’t have help on Cross Country. Everyday is a different day, so-our team is a very strong team and Cross Country is a whole new ballgame, so we’ll just do it all over again.”

On the junior side, Marlon extended his dominance at that category.

Marlon Castillo, Junior Natl. Road Champion

“I gone early. From Armenia hills, the break gone, me, Choto, and we just work together and come. Then by Haulover, I let go and come solo.”

Of course, lately the female class has totally belonged to lady Violet Morrison.

Violet Morrison, Female Natl. Road Champion

“Right about now I am feeling good. About the results, I feel definitely we did accomplish what we set out; Gina coming in second and me coming in first.”

Q: Well I know you’ve had some recent injuries and it’s very difficult to get back on your bike, especially after a bike related injuries, but you seemed to have come all the way back. This is definitely a true test of your skill, your strong will. What is the future of cycling for you?”

Violet Morrison

“I see myself in cycling. I’ve started a team, these are young females, Shante and Gina, they want to do it for more years than what I want to do. For me right now it will probably be another year or two. I see Gina and Shante going on for probably another four more years in cycling, so right about now it’s simply just building the team and making sure that we have future female cyclists coming out and keeping the sport in the female section going.”

As we shift gears, we would just like to mention that it was very unwise of the Belize Cycling Association to give exclusive broadcast rights to one radio station for a national event of this magnitude. Just ain’t right people.

Turning to the football scene, Kulture Yabra of Belize City suffered its second season loss in week four by falling to the Builder’s Hardware Bandits in a burning 2-1 score at the M.C.C. Grounds yesterday.

Up north, Juventus of Orange Walk suffered its first season loss in a 3-2 scorcher at the People’s Stadium.

Down South, Griga United bombed the Calcutta Bulls 3-1, but the Bulls did get their first season goal, while out at the island the San Pedro Seahawks were held to a scoreless draw by Hankook Verdes.

In cricket news, we want to say congratulations to the National Cricket team for its bronze medal performance in the America’s Affiliate Seniors Championship staged last week at Panama. Good show guys, we hope that you do better next time.

In closing, we just want to remind you cycling fans that the annual Cross Country Cycling Classic comes up on Holy Saturday and it promises to be a monster. That’s it for now, we invite you back same time, same place, next week. Jah over all! I’m James Adderley.



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