Rowse completes hat-trick mission
Alyssa Rowse captured her third straight time-trial title in the XL Catlin Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships at Clearwater Beach yesterday.
Rowse, who won gold in Barbados last year and in St Lucia in 2016, was thoroughly dominant as she won the race by almost 1½ minutes.
Bermuda’s riders won all three time-trial races, with Kaden Hopkins victorious in the Junior Men and Nicholas Narraway securing victory in the Juvenile Men.
There was disappointment for Matthew Oliveira, however, with the defending Junior Men champion suffering a flat tyre on the second of four laps and did not finish.
Rowse, who posted a time of 15min 57.046sec, said completing a hat-trick of titles was the perfect way to bow out of the junior championships.
Taralee Ordonez, of Belize, was second in 17:21.968 and Silviene González, of Aruba, finished third in 17:23.885.
“I felt good today and that was important,” Rowse, 18, said. “I’m very pleased with the third gold and it’s a good way to go out,”
Bermuda looked set for a gold and silver in the Junior Men until red-hot favourite Oliveira suffered his misfortune.
For Hopkins the victory was his second gold at the championships, having won the Juvenile Men’s time-trial in St Lucia in 2016. He finished in 26:16:128 with Abner González, of Puerto Rico, second in 27:44.361 and Enrique De Comarmond, of Trinidad & Tobago, third in 27:46.936.
“Abner beat me in the road race at the World Championships [in Norway] last year, so I knew he was strong,” Hopkins, 18, said.
“I also know Enrique well — he won both races in the Juvenile last year — and I knew he would be a big contender.
“I was focused on those two and obviously Matthew because he is such an amazing rider. For him to go out the way did was a bit unfortunate.
“It sucks, but I once he was out of it there was nothing we could really do. To still get the top podium was nice.”
Hopkins said he was thrilled to finish his junior career in the sport on a high after suffering from a virus during the build-up to last year’s event in Barbados.
“I didn’t perform very well last year in the time-trial and couldn’t even finish the road race,” he said. “I got mono [mononucleosis] coming into the event.
“I was really sick and didn’t know until I got out there and then got hit by all of the effects once I was there.
“I’ve been training really hard focusing towards this because we go to bigger events, like the World Championships, but don’t have any expectations there.
“To perform well for Bermuda at an international event is a big deal for all of us. I wanted to come back and improve from last year.”
Narraway, who finished in 14:18.698, said home advantage played a part in his success.
Josué Alemán, of Puerto Rico, came second in 14:43.302, and Joshua Krozendijk, of Aruba, was third in 14:47.365. Bermuda’s Ziani Burgesson placed fourth in 15:01.116.
“It definitely makes a difference,” said 16-year-old Narraway, who will move up to the junior division next year. “With all of the roundabouts and the corners you just have trust in them. I wasn’t expecting the gold medal at all. Last year I was second but because of the hurricanes last year [in the Caribbean] only half of the countries were [in Barbados].
“I was really happy when they told me I’d won gold. I just went as fast I could the whole time and suffered through it.”
Darren Glasford, the Bermuda team manager, praised Bermuda’s medal winners and is certain they would have won a fourth medal had it not been for Oliveira’s bad luck.
“We’re pretty happy with three golds,” Glasford said. “The big disappointment was Matt getting a flat. It looked like we would have got silver and gold and the Junior Men.
“Alyssa was not as confident as she was last year because she’s been preparing for school. But she did a really good job and it’s a good way for her to end her junior cycling career.
“Matt and Kaden definitely looked strong compared to the other island competitors, We’re pretty sure Matt would have had a medal.”