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Feb 12, 2007

Comfort Air leads M & M Tour after 3 stages

Story PictureGood Evening, I’m James Adderley and we do welcome you to this bashment of Sports Monday. So we take you quickly to San Salvador, El Salvador where UNCAF is staging Nations Cup Tournament inside the CUSCATLAN Football Stadium.

Shane Orio humbly prays for safety and the big W as Belize goes up against the National Football Team of Guatemala after having lost 2-1 to El Salvador on Thursday.

Shane’s prayers might have been answered early in the opening minutes when Noriega unleashes this wicked right foot that just screams dangerously across the Orio goal mouth.

The efficacy might have been short-lived because at the 8th minute this corner kick finds the head of Gustavo Cabrera and – gol de Guatemala.

Again the Guats attack as Martin Avila tries a long one that floats over the crossbar.

Team Belize finally gets off a dangerous missile thanks to the efforts of Harrison “Kafu” Roches, but it’s a bit high.

It’s a fact people, we’re better postured defensively in this ballgame than offensively and we’ve got Mr. Orio to be thankful for this small mercy.

Hey guys, football is a cerebral sport but this much head participation is just too much as Elroy Smith and his Guatemalan counterpart do find out.

By the way, just before the half expires Shane Orio has to come up with a big time save to keep the deficit at just one goal.

In second half our team plays a better ballgame and immediately they try to get going off the set piece.

It’s another dangerous time for Belize when Contreras clubs this punch as Shane wins the battle of inches.

On this getaway, Guatemalan Avila should have converted but Shane slows him down effectively for Trevor Lennon to strip him of the pill.

Guatemala would go on to the hang on to the 1-zip big W; we’ve now lost two in a row. Belize must beat Nicaragua in a ballgame that started at 5:00 p.m. today if we are to survive to the next round.

Of course if you’re national minded and you’re a football fan, you will want to know that the National Female Football Champion of Belize, Gentle Touch, pummelled a selection form Flores, Guatemala 8-sip on Saturday.

In other football news here are the pre-season results from the B.P.F.L. At the Toledo Union Field, Toledo United got doubled 2-1 by Tex Mar Boys. Inside the Norman Broaster Stadium, Hankook Verdes and Santel’s battled to a scoreless draw. Alpha fell to Suga Boys Juventus at the People’s Stadium and F.C. Belize dumped Costa Del Sol Nairi’s 2-1 at the M.C.C. Grounds.

Now, in cycling, the 2007 M & M Engineering Tour of Belize rocketed off Saturday morning at Orange Walk as fifteen teams, featuring one hundred and twenty riders made a bid in this nine stage event that covers 592 miles and 4 major highways.

Anybody who is anybody in Belizean cycling is here, including defending champion Marlon Castillo, and Orange Walk fans are greeted by a moving wave of colours as the tour begins in earnest.

On the way to Corozal Town, Shane Vasquez and Dennis Molina decide to run away and they do look good doing so.

However, by the time the race returns from the turn around point, at Santa Elena at the Mexican border, it’s a trio led by Mateo Cruz on the pace.

Nevertheless, it’s a brand new configuration when the race reaches Trial Farm with two Belizeans hanging along with four foreigners.

Now here’s the sprint for the finish inside Sugar City – Gregory Lovell grabs the pace and beats Neri Velasquez of Café Quetzal for the stage I win in 2 hours, 54 minutes, 55 seconds, to grab the yellow jersey away from team-mate Marlon Castillo of the Santino team. Luis Santizo – a Guatemalan riding for M & M Engineering – takes third; former two time champion riding for C-Ray team finishes fourth; while Carlos Hernandez of the Guatemalan National Team rounds out the top five in the opening 78 mile ride of this tour.

Gregory Lovell, Stage I Winner
“I have a strong team and those guys just talk to me and tell me to ride the race smart, and don’t work early in the race. I just follow and read the race…the break coming back I see guys start to attack and I just start to ride aggressive and do my best”

James Adderley
“Tell us a bit about your strategy? You certainly did not help them in the major pacing with the five man lead just about now?”

Gregory Lovell
“Well, my role is to just work. We have lots of super stars on our team, a lot of guys that is good, and I was planning to win this stage – but not this one – but the other shorter stage I good on, but I just do my best”

Meanwhile, we’re back inside Orange Walk on Sunday morning for the start of stage II set to travel from Sugar City to Capital City through the Burrell Boom road after utilizing a rolling start out of Orange Walk.

Maybe it’s the slippery surface brought on by the rain that’s affecting the riders, but one hundred and eleven cyclists today more or less stay compact for quite some time.

The attacks begin in earnest around mile nineteen with this five man breakaway that sees the defending champion Marlon Castillo in front of the race for the first time.

As the race turns into the Boom road, Giovanni Leslie launches this attack and attracts six bidders.

But this is the rider who accomplishes the real break-out out of this particular pack – John Delong of Alliance Environmental – and he would run all the way New Hattieville on the Western Highway, people.

Folks, today looks like American day to us when Ryan Dewald, of Sun Ray Digital Photo, bursts out of the lead pack of 11 to grab the pace.

Around mile forty-three it’s a Swede who steps it up a notch in the person of Bjorn Anderson and this is that moment the Swedish sensation makes his move.

And when the race reaches Belmopan for the big finish, it’s Bjorn Anderson of Comfort Air taking the 95 mile Stage II unchallenged in 3 hours, 33 minutes and 31 seconds.

Now here’s the sprint for second place. Guy East of Sun Digital digs it out, forcing Neri Velasquez of Guatemala’s Café Quetzal into third; Sun Digital’s Ryan Dewald takes fourth and John Delong of Alliance Environmental rounds out the top five in stage II. Of course, you do know, Bjorn Anderson now owns the Yellow Jersey.

James Adderley
”We thought it was a major move, I mean, against some of the premier riders within this race when you walked out around mile 42/43. Tell us about that execution? That was something very spectacular”

Bjorn Anderson, Stage II Winner
“Yeah, thanks. I know it was less that 10 miles to go and so it more or less a small climb, so I figured that would be the best way or the last chance to try something and it worked out”

James Adderley
”You’ve gained an incredible time over the main pelathon and even the chase bunch because you finished over 2 minutes over them. I want to know do you think coming out in the Yellow Jersey for Stage III of a 9 stage you are on your way to keeping it?”

Bjorn Anderson
“Not really, I’m just coming from Sweden in the winter so I’m not in great shape, so I don’t if will hold up the whole race. I’m just happy to get a stage win”

And here he is in the post race ceremony donning the leader’s jersey going into Stage III.

Which brings us to the 25 mile Team Time Trial event on Boom circuit this morning, and we must call it Santino time. If you don’t see Ernest Meighan, Greg Lovell, Mateo Cruz or Giovanni Leslie, well they’ve been dropped off the cruel pace set by their team-mates since it’s the fourth rider’s time to be utilized by the commissioners for the team finish. Mercifully we say, as Team Santino posted an untouchable time of 49 minutes, 47 seconds in the 25 mile ride and we say congratulations.

The Alliance Environmental team posts a second place time of 50 minutes, 21 seconds. The Guatemalan National team takes third in a time of 51 minutes, 24 seconds. Another Guatemalan entity in the tour, Café Quetzal, takes fourth place while Team Bike America rounds out the top five with their time of 52 minutes, 29 seconds.

Santiago Castillo Jr.,
“Actually, we decide to just peel off the guys and leave the strongest guys in there. After we were into the race about 8 miles the guys that weren’t contributing were just dropped”

Kwame Scott
”Your nearest competitor, the last time we checked, is about 2 minutes, 8 seconds down or so. Is there still a chance for the Santino’s Team?”

Santiago Castillo Jr.,
“We’ll be down by about 2 minutes and a half, I figure, going into tomorrow’s stage but we seek to definitely make it up in the hills. We don’t see the present yellow Jersey holder – what’s his name? Bjorn – beating us in the hills.”

Stage IV comes up tomorrow morning in a 50 mile package on the Western highway. Bjorn Anderson of Comfort Air goes in still with the Yellow Jersey. We will get his lead, in terms of time, if he still owns the Yellow Jersey tomorrow. So join us at that time for full coverage and we’ll take you through the numbers, which is very important.

However, 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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