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Apr 22, 2003

American takes Cross Country in close finish

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Good evening I’m James Adderley and you’re in tuned to this latest version of Sports Monday. The Easter weekend brought with it the annual Cross Country Cycle Classic, a seventy-five year old tradition that saw its seventy-fourth presentation.

Just before the start, we see the 1992 champ Big Mike Lewis signing up, two time champ Ernest Meighan also known as Jawmeighan the Golden One, 1995 champion Orlando Chavarria just back from early retirement, the 1999 champion the American Chris Fredericks looking for more, and of course the defending champion Eduardo Uribe, riding for Santino’s by way of Mexico.

And well some seventy-one riders, including eighteen foreigners, embark on this one hundred and forty mile journey in search of fame and fortune.

Around mile eight, the American Chris Foster and the Guatemalan Andres Ordonez, sprint for the station prize won by Ordonez and they do try to make a run for it. They are soon joined by Shane Vasquez, Douglas Lamb and Guatemalans, Angel Quetzal and Nery Velasquez, to make it a six-man lead.

But watch what happens, we have a major spill. Shane Vasquez of Cayo, Douglas Lamb of Santino and Brunomiel’s Nery Velasquez all go down. It’s messy, but they’ll all continue–although Lamb seems to have gotten the worst of it.

Shane Vasquez is the first to recover and he returns to the lead to make it a four-man pack. This four would run all the way into San Ignacio. And here they are journeying past the Belmopan junction to the applause of the many fans at this particular location.

We check in on the lead as the big four cross the famous Hawkesworth Bridge at the turnaround point and it’s Shane Vasquez taking the sprint against Ordonez when this happens (Shane falls down) and it’s another bad break for Shane Vasquez. But let’s reel to the slo-mo and the culprit of this spill is obviously a clash of handles.

Keep your eyes on Shane, he will continue, but needs a bike. He finally gets one from a fan, and for him, the journey continues despite his second fall of this outing.

Now here’s a look at the main pelathon revving its way through San Ignacio. So the lead becomes a trio as we head towards the Marion Jones Sporting Complex.

And it’s not until around mile thirty-nine when the huge hunt pack gets their eyes on the target. This is the actual moment when the race re-amalgamates and now we’ve got a new ballgame some thirty miles from Belize City.

As a result, this four burst out of the bunch: Ernest Meighan, Eduardo Uribe, Chris Harky and Guatemalan Abel Iochola.

At mile twenty-one, Enriquez Rodriguez, a Guatemalan who had crossed over to the lead, mounts a suicide move in the attempt for the clean breakaway. Rodriguez runs all the way to mile nine until he gets swallowed up by the hungry chase group.

By the time the race arrives at the Marion Jones, it has been reduced to a three-man contest, Chris Harky, Eduardo Uribe and Abel Iochola.

If you love a sprint, check this. Iochola pulls the trigger around the corner, Uribe follows suit and Chris Harky at third gets up off his bike too. Around the curve the American makes his move and overtakes the Guatemalan on the inside and Chris Harky wins the 2003 edition in impressive fashion with a time of six hours, fifty-two seconds. Eduardo Uribe has to settle for third in his first title defence.

Quinton Hamilton becomes the Baddest Belizean for the day, taking fourth in uncontested fashion, while Ernest Meighan in his quest for a third title, had to settle for fifth, Nery Velasquez of Guatemala pulls up sixth, Big Mike Lewis seventh, Orlando Chavarria eighth, Hubert Johnson a surprising ninth place finish, while Chris Fredericks rounds out the top ten.

James Adderley

“You certainly were behind the pelathon for most of the race, we say your team mate Chris Foster able to command attention, was that a part of the team plan?”

Chris Harky, 2003 Cross Country Champion

“Oh yeah, right from the get go. We knew on the way down here on the plane, days before, weeks before, we were already ready to come down to make our statement because word is we can’t really race a road race, so we said we’ll show ‘em this time.”

James Adderley

“That work you did on the road when you decided to jerk the crowd around, was that to just test what kind of level they were at that point?”

Chris Harky

“Yeah. I got up the road when I first finally made my presence I was going up the road with Uribe, Jawmeighan and two Guatemalans and again, it was two of those guys on each team against one, I don’t understand why they wouldn’t race me, so they wouldn’t work and I told Andrew, fine, we’re gonna set up and see what happens.”

James Adderley

“About that sprint, when you came from around the corner was that pre-planned or was that the burst of adrenaline kicking in?”

Chris Harky

“Well I just wanted to stay on the back as long as I could cause I see Quinton was just off the back a little ways and I say hey, Quinton might make it back on the break here and I heard Quinton’s an awesome sprinter, so that’s why I thought those guys would work, they didn’t want Quinton back in the break, I waited until the last second and took my chances.”

James Adderley

“And finally, what does this win means to you, an American coming from inside the cold, coming out in this heat and giving such a dominating performance in that sizzling sprint?”

Chris Harky

“Well it feels awesome and Mac Cannon has won this race before and that was for Mac, he had to stay at home this time, but I thought I’d win it for him.”

James Adderley

“I certainly thought after seeing your performance last year against Gustavo Carrillo that you would have been able to wheel to the front.”

Eduardo Uribe, 3rd Place

“Because everyday work, my legs no good. What happened, this is a race…”

James Adderley

“So you’ll do less bicycling and more working now?”

Eduardo Uribe

“Yeah, but this is the race, maybe next year I noh work and when you on the track and very strong and win the sprint, but this is the race…”

James Adderley

“You had a hard time working in the pack trying to get to the front?”

Eduardo Uribe


James Adderley

“But you finished third, how do you feel about that after being the defending champion?”

Eduardo Uribe

“Well I feel good because it’s a three place, but not very, very good. My head I bad because I lose it, noh win.”

Hey folks, that’s our show for today. Jah over all! I’m James Adderley.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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