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Jan 2, 2014

Byron Pope, winner of the annual New Year’s Day Cycling Classic

The annual cycling race on the first of January, to commence the New Year, was held on Wednesday, as thousands of spectators lined the highway from Corozal to Belize City to cheer on their favorite athletes.  In the end, only one rider would emerge victorious by crossing the finish line first.  The winner of the coveted title was Belizean cyclist Byron Pope.  News Five followed the race from start to finish and caught up with Pope at the finish line.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The Twenty-Fourth Annual Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic was held on Wednesday, as the first major sporting event to kick off 2014.  This year’s race saw the participation of riders from across the country, as well as neighboring Mexico and the U.S.A.  For Erwin Middleton it was dedicated to the recovery of Geon Hanson, who was seriously injured during a near-fatal road traffic accident on Christmas Eve while training for the race.


Erwin Middleton, Belmopan C4 Cycling Club

Erwin Middleton

“Today we’re riding in memory of, not memory, in support of Geon Hanson who’s been hit the other day.  So we really [need] to have faith so that he could recover.  He’s on his way recovering but everybody still join us in prayers.”


The race got underway near the Belize/Mexico Border in Corozal and made its way down the Phillip Goldson Highway through Orange Walk Town and Ladyville, before culminating in Belize City.  Along the way, there were numerous obstacles, including the current road conditions which resulted in spillages.  Some would continue the eighty-odd mile journey, while others dropped out of the race altogether.



“Any severe injuries or just minor?”


Michael Wagner, Rider

“Only the hip di hurt.”



“Will you continue the race?”


Michael Wagner

“Di bike bruk.”



“Oh di bike bruk…Do you plan to continue the race?”


Carlos Hernandez, Rider

“I don’t know.”


Upon exiting Orange Walk Town, near the toll bridge, the main caravan was forced to proceed carefully to avoid the many potholes littering the highway.  Forty-seven miles later lone rider Byron Pope would emerge victorious, as the 2014 Krem New Year’s Day Cycling Classic champion.


Byron Pope

Byron Pope, Winner

“I feel happy, happy, happy todeh.  I do this by di grace ah God and my teammates, Benny’s Megabytes Team and we train hard and prepare well for this race and we always wanted to win this race so this is our start for the 2014 season with a bang.”



“Now several times out there, especially the last ten miles or so it looked like you had been shaken out, like we thought you were in the best position to win and then you were actually shaken off and we said, “mein Popey noh wah mek it again.”  What happened?”


Byron Pope

“Well I’m not a rider that has to, that sits and try to make people bring me in.  I have to get out there and put in my work to, you know, so I think I was sitting too much and I started to get a little cramped so when I get dropped with mile eight to go, I got dropped before in this race at airport already, so I said I can’t let this happen to me again and I fight my way back, and I fight my way back and I said once I reached back to that group this race is mine.  When I reach Benny’s I said, “this is mine.”  I looked at Giovanni Lovell and he was pretty much shaken up because he was in the breakaway this morning, you know, so I looked at the Mexican Manuel… He was riding a big gear so I said once I come into the corner I’m going to jump them and when they hit the corner like they slid a bit and I said this is my opportunity right there, I know the corner very well and I made my move over the bridge.”


In second and third place respectively were Carlos Lopez and Giovanni Lovell. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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