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Apr 26, 2011

Highlights of the Cross Country Classic

Good Evening, I’m James Adderley and welcome to this portion of Sports Monday.

The 83rd Annual Cross Country Cycling Classic grabbed center stage on Holy Saturday as the entire nation tuned in to be entertained by the biggest one day sporting spectacle in the Jewel. In fact, we dare say fan support was the biggest ever seen in the ride for the garland as Belizeans from all walks of life hoped and prayed that the 4-year drought would not be extended and a Belizean champion would emerge today.

At the starting line in front of Leslie’s Imports are 130 riders, featuring 17 teams which include 3 completely foreign entities, while 16 riders are attempting the 139 Mile journey to San Ignacio as unattached. The tension mounts as can be seen on the faces of the athletes and it is not unexpected since a lot is at stake today. The starting gun brings the ride to life and we’re underway.

When the ride passes the roundabout inside Hattieville some 14 riders seem intent on extricating themselves from the pack this early, but it never was going to work because of the intentions. Just before Rockville, this young rider of the Western Spirit Team, Peter Choto, takes advantage of the indecision and rolls out to what will become a most memorable solo flight that will be etched in the history books.

This is Peter Choto on his way to picking up 26 consecutive station prizes that would total some nine thousand dollars before he would be reeled in after grabbing his last station prize at Galen University, one of his team sponsors.

However, let’s check in the back of the pelathon where we find under 23 riders; Melvin Tillett of Santino and his race supplies spilled all over the highway after crashing inside race. Other riders affected by this crash can include over 50 riders Ras Trevor Vaughan, Santino rider Jeovin Leslie, a Zamir rider and a member of the Indeco Team. Tillett would be unable to continue his journey. And here is Leslie trying to get back into the thick of things and of course these are the variables in the sport of cycling.

But let’s rejoin Peter Choto on his big time solo flight and as we see him pick up another $1000 for his ascent on the summit of Mount Hope, we detect that his 35 Mile run was about to end. In fact, the hounds already have him in their sight with Ernest Meighan just a few seconds off the pace. When Ernest Meighan takes the station prize in memory of Kristopher “Spermy” Chuc,at Mile 64, signals the end of Peter Choto’s solo flight. Indeed the youngster had done his damage but he too was done.

Meanwhile, Kyle Gentle might have taken the halfway prize, but coming out of Hawksworth Bridge is Edgar Orozco of Santino’s who picks up the pace to grab the next 6 station prizes that would end at the Esperanza premie. Wilmer, who finished 2nd last year for Team Zamir asserts himself at Running W. Meats. When the race rolls through Camalote Village, the new configuration finds Chris Harkey, Shane Vasquez, Patrick Bennett, Wilmer, Luis Marroquin and Juan Rojas on the pace.

At Roaring Creek, Chris Harkey again plays his game egging on the pack to sprint for the premie—so he takes it uncontested followed by Patrick Bennett as Shane Vasquez hangs on. Around Mile 25, Chris Harkey’s numerous attacks have taken its toll on Shane Vasquez and everybody else in that lead group. The new leaders are now Jeremy Coun, the man Harkey was setting up, Belize’s hope, Darnell Barrow had stepped up; so did Guatemalan Luis Santizo of Sugar City Stars and Carlos Hernandez riding for the Guatemalan National Team completes the lead four.

James Adderley

We’re now inside Hattieville and Darnell Barrow is battling Jeremy Conn as Luis Santiago just hangs on for the free ride.

Carlos Hernandez in the meantime shows signs of struggle.

And here’s the chase group that includes Shane Vasquez who is trying to recover as Chris Harkey stays on his wheel.

We go to the aerial view as the lead three looks to cross the Burton Bridge and we question why Darnel Barrow is doing all the pacing.

At Old Belize its Barrow again looking like he’d like to runaway.

In the meantime this chase group is coming hard at the leaders and its bringing Shane Vasquez.

Around mile 2 Luis Santiago finally decides to stop playing possum as he attacks the other 2 who had begun to conclude it was a 2 man race.  Stunned neither rider could come up with a response.

In front of Leslie’s Imports they look at each other as they realized they’ve been had.

At Belcan Bridge the Sugar City rider continues to reap the rewards as his move rolling with vigor towards the tape.

And here he is crossing the finish line to claim the 83rd Annual Cross Country Cycle Classic in 6 hours 8 minutes and 10 seconds giving Sugar City Starz Cycling Club a  2nd garland in the 2 years.

Carlos Hernandez riding for the Guatemalan National Team pulls up for 2nd place. And out of the blue 2006 champion Shane Vasquez of Western Spirits rolls in to take 3rd place – just 50 seconds off the pace – had his management spotted the Chris Harkey move maybe Shane would have had his 2nd garland this Holy Saturday.

Meanwhile Jeremy Conn of Hencapie tried to bring Darnell Barrow in but had to abandon that effort to take 4th.

While Darnell Barrow of Santino’s had to settle for a disappointing 5th place – had his management recognized that Santiago had been getting a free ride things might have been different for this rider.

We watch the remaining riders roll in we must say that this time the failure for the Belizean win must be laid at the door of the managers who were caught playing checkers when it was a chess game at hand.  Of the 130 that started only 57 finished the course.

Shane Vasquez

Shane Vasquez of Western Spirit/Galen Eagles won the Masters Class.  Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes won the U-23 category.  Wasani Castro of Clear the Land took the U-18 class. While the over 50 category was won by Anthony Taylor – the American Jamaican Trevor Vaughn of Belcan finished second while 56 year old Glen Gordon took 3rd.

Shane Vasquez

“I tried my best so I did a couple attacked. The guys counterattack me and then eventually I did another attack and I gained a gap over the group that I was it. But there was one Guatemalan who sat on my wheel and I was calling him around, but he neva wanted to come around. l but when it comes to race statics and so forth it was a better chance for me to take one guy rather than bring that whole crowd that I was with. Unfortunately he attacked me when I caught up with Darnell Barrow and the American, but I still went through because I neva know another Guatemalan was up running.”

Darnell Barrow

Darnell Barrow

“At mile 2, he attacked me like two time. I try to move. The first attack, I followed him. I come around to show him I want to push it, let’s go he sat down. I paced, he attack me again. I tried to move, I got up, give everything I got, but just couldn’t caught him when he made the final move.”

In other cycling news, the 6th Annual Pablo Marin Cycling Classic is set for this Sunday, may 1st and it starts at Miami Beach Corozal, goes to Santa Elena border, heads to Oragne Walk and then swings back to finish where it started.

Jah overall, 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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11 Responses for “Highlights of the Cross Country Classic”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    I am proud of all of you for giving it your best.

  2. risu says:

    Belizean riders did excellent this year, especially Shane. The Cycling Association should allow raido communications for the teams. It would have been a different story if Shane knew there were 2 more riders up front. The radios would also make the race more exciting and we would see some interesting strategies play out.

  3. Xaan says:

    Good job Shane.. Proud of you and all the Belizeans. Next year, you guys really need to put in a bit more effort to get back that title from those foreigners.

  4. CLEANHEART says:

    I am really proud of my Belizeans riders, they did their best, unfortunately there can only be one winner, and unfortunately a foreigner won the race, but without foreigners the race would not be so excited.
    Congratulation to Peter Choto, Kyle Gentle, Shane Vasquez, and Darnel Barrow, and all other Belizean riders who participated in this year’s race. May God continue to bless you all and give the strength to win next years race.

  5. Sunshine says:

    Our Belizeans brothers did well but they can do better. Congrats to the top 10 Belizean riders. Without the foreigners there would be no excitement in the race and I do believe they give our guys and incentive to ride hard and to try and capture the garland, better luck next time guys.

  6. RedGyal Belizean says:

    Great Job guys…Was at the finish, what and experience!!! Big up to all my Belizean Bowi Dem!!!

  7. the truth hurts says:

    did I see the same race? we got our backside whipped. why are we celebrating mediocrity as usual..our brothers got beaten up and by a Guate to make it worst.. lets us stop fooling ourselves the foreigners have outperformed us consistently for the past 20 years more or less. if we are to turn this around a lot of things have to change, change training methods, proper nutrition and medical exams., respect for the cyclist on the road. we want to win but how many of you drivers don’t cuss when you are behind a bunch of cyclist training. how many of you slow down and go into the other lane to overtake them. a young cyclist was killed while on a training ride a few months ago and there was no massive outcry against this. so if we don’t respect the cyclist when he is training how can we expect them to win all cross country.

  8. D-Power says:

    What’s up with this…

    In a post race interview Santizo said he had no words to express the joy and emotions at winning the cycling classic. He explained that his Orange Walk Town based Sugar City team’s strategy was to position his fellow rider Belizean Marlon Castillo for the win but that Castillo was unable to take over the lead at the end of the race. He stated, “This win is not for me, it is for my Belize team and for all Belizeans.”

    Read more:

  9. Bzn in Belize says:

    Cycling in Belize will not be , History and successful without strong competitions.

  10. Elgin Martinez says:

    Belizean Cyclists can be successful if given the proper logistics and incentives.The GOB also need to play an active part in this Sport .

  11. lVl says:

    that caption from the current champion is right on point. contrary to popular belief, foreign riders on local teams come to assist their belizean teammates, but when our boys can’t show up a team victory is the next best thing. and @ ‘truth hurts’, we celebrate our guys’ efforts because it was obvious that THEY TRIED. we’ve got a ways to go but have come a long way from the shadow boxing days before 1989. you made some valid points, especially about their safety on the road, but given what we have to work with our guys certainly rose to the ocassion this holy saturday.

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