Mayho gets the better of Butterfield

  • Third win: Dominique Mayho

    Third win: Dominique Mayho

In the end, the Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race panned out exactly how Dominique Mayho hoped and expected it would — a sprint finish with Tyler Butterfield.

Mayho executed the “perfect” race, reacting quickly to Butterfield’s attack from the gun and largely deployed defensive tactics until the final corner of the explosive 13.1-mile race.

As they swung into Cedar Avenue, the pair were riding wheel to wheel, as they had for the entire race. But by that stage Mayho knew he had already laid the foundations for what was the most gratifying of his three Bermuda Day victories.

“This is definitely my favourite win — it was perfect,” said Mayho, who finished in 24min 24.963sec. “When I first started cycling Tyler was a pro athlete and someone I looked up to — I still do. He has taught me a lot.”

Although Mayho beat Butterfield in the Bank of Bermuda Foundation Time-Trial Championships last year, he had never previously got the better of him in a road race.

He admits he was beginning to wonder whether he was suffering from a “mental block” whenever he went head-to-head with the decorated triathlete.

“I always thought he had a mental block me to the point I couldn’t race properly,” Mayho said. “It’s a good feeling to finally beat him.”

Butterfield’s late entry into the race added another element of intrigue the most prestigious event in the local cycling calendar, having withdrawn from the Bermuda Day Half Marathon Derby because of a calf strain.

It was the 35-year-old’s first Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race since 2002, when he also had to settle for second, with Mayho confessing he was almost caught cold by the more experienced rider’s blistering start.

“Tyler started really hard and I didn’t expect him to go that early,” the VT Construction-Madison rider said. “The race starts on a downhill and I think he knew the juniors [Kaden Hopkins and Matthew Oliveira] would be under gear for it, so he just went full gas.

“I jumped around Matthew because he couldn’t close it and got on [Butterfield’s] wheel. We then started working together.”

Butterfield, the more accomplished time-trialist, did the bulk of the labour, according to Mayho, who pulled away on Burnt House Hill before being quickly countered by his rival.

“I dropped him on Burnt House,” Mayho said. “But I then waited for him because I knew I couldn’t go all that way alone and he attacked me. After that I thought, ‘All right, no more helping. Now the game is on’. That’s when the real race started between us.”

Had Butterfield continued attacking, Mayho suspects the outcome could have been different and shared the piece of kidology he performed in an effort to maintain control.

“If he attacked a couple more times he may have got away,” Mayho said. “So I just rolled up to him and said, ‘If you attack me again I’m not working with you’. I think that played on his mind, although I was actually dying at that point! I used a bit of psychology, I guess.”

By the time the pair reached Front Street Mayho knew the odds were staked firmly in his favour as the superior sprinter.

“I just kept playing the game and waited until he went into the final corner,” Mayho added. “He went wide, so I cut on the inside of him and went before he could react to it.”

For Mayho the victory felt like redemption, having slid out entering the final corner of his previous race in 2014, scuppering his chances of a hat-trick of wins and joining Kris Hedges and Wayne Scott with the most titles.

He hopes to surpass those pair next year as part of his bid to equal Hedges’s feat of three in a row.

“It’s great to be up there those two, especially Kris who won three in a row,” said Mayho, who missed the previous three races as he was competing in Belgium.

“That’s something I’ve been aiming for for a very long time. Hopefully this win can restart my count.”

Despite delving deep into his box of tricks, as a former professional cyclist for American team Slipstream Sports, Butterfield could not conjure up a way breaking free from Mayho.

He said he was always mindful of Mayho’s raw speed and power, which ultimately proved decisive, and admits the better rider won on the day.

“When he went [on Cedar Avenue] I couldn’t even get on his wheel,” said Butterfield, who finished in 24:25.426. “All power to him; he’s the best sprinter we have and the best rider.

“He was smart, he was tactical. I played all of my tactics, which I knew I would, but I couldn’t beat him. That’s bike racing.”

Butterfield more than kept his promise of making the race interesting and said he took pleasure from knowing he had made Mayho toil for his win.

“I’m happy I was able to make a difference to the race,” the Tokio rider said. “It wasn’t the normal weekend Bermuda race.

“I’m sure some of the guys at the beginning were like, ‘Wow, this is quick. Holy smokes! Two people just took off from the front. How did that happen?’

“My lungs are burning, I went hard, and I wasn’t going to let him win easily. He had to earn it and he did. It wasn’t a soft race.”

Kaden Hopkins, last year’s winner, was the best of the rest, finishing third in 25:27.992, 3½ minutes faster than his time 12 months ago.

“It was as hard as expected,” said Hopkins, the top junior finisher. “Matt and I don’t have the gears [as junior riders]. As soon as Tyler put the power down — well, him and Dom are just so strong and basically just rode away from us before we even had a chance to react to it.”

• For today’s results, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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Published May 25, 2018 at 10:57 am (Updated May 25, 2018 at 10:42 pm)

Mayho gets the better of Butterfield

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