Sunday, March 3, 2024

Matthews nails it


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You just can’t keep Darren Matthews down.
Even when he falls, cycling’s boy wonder still finds a way to get to the top, having survived an early spill before outsprinting Russell Elcock to win yesterday’s senior category of a 12-lap Locust Hall circuit.
It was Matthews’ first win in just his second start this season, proving the perfect rebound from a third-place showing on the Garrison course two weeks ago.
And this was after the national champ had to overcome separate bouts of misfortune – on the same lap.
Having stormed to the front after the very first lap, Matthews lost CGI G4S Swift teammate Jaime Ramirez just three kilometres later after his Colombian training partner’s bike stem broke.
Matthews followed that up by slipping in a corner, giving Elcock a slight 15-metre advantage.
But the 21-year-old ace hauled in his AMOND Fugen rival on the next lap, and the two basically rode the rest of the race unchallenged after leading by a clear 64 seconds.
“I obviously had to put down the effort to ride the whole race from the front,” said Matthews, who will be competing in Trinidad next week.
“The general idea was to press from the beginning, so we were expected to be on the front from the get-go. But I still would’ve liked him [Jaime] to have finished more laps so we could show what real racing is.”
The peloton – led by Rockets’ Jamol Eastmond – threatened briefly on the last lap, though, cutting the gap within ten seconds before almost reconnecting with the leaders on the turn for home.
However, Eastmond and company never fully bridged the gap, and were forced to watch from behind as Matthews and Elcock sprinted to the line.
For the fifth time in six starts, Elcock settled for second after battling cramp on the final stretch, while Eastmond finished third ahead of Fugen’s Philip Clarke and two-time national champ Simon Clarke.
Earlier, Ramirez’s compatriot Carolina Gomez won the women’s category even after a lap mix-up led to the Colombian not receiving the bell ahead of her final lap.
Fugen’s dominant veteran Esther Miller-Rosemond was second as the only other female in the field.
Her clubmate Ajani Miller cruised to yet another comfortable victory in the tiny mites category, while A-Class Batteries Golden Wheelers’ Edwin Sutherland defeated Fugen’s Gregory Vanderpool for the juvenile crown.
Independent rider Stuart Maloney made it four wins in six races when the champion race car driver took the masters division, well ahead of Gregory Austin and Reginald Jones (Golden Wheelers).
Velo Caribe’s John Proverbs was victorious in the over-50s, while his teammate Roland Holder won the novice category.


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