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Mayho makes surprise return to defend his title

Cycling Criterium. (Photo by Akil Simmons) ¬ Dominique Mayho leads Shaoon Lawrence in the men's A category around the Ace/XL block circuit on the western end of Front Street.

Dominique Mayho has made a surprise return to the Island to defend his Presidents Cup 100-kilometre road race title tomorrow.

Mayho has been training and competing in Canada with the Ride with Rendall Elite team for the past six months. However, a break in competition for him this weekend created a window to allow Mayho to come back to defend his title.

“I decided [to return] a couple of weeks ago, because all my other team-mates who are from Ontario have their Provincial Championships this weekend and I can’t race in it because I’m not from the province, so I was going to have a weekend of doing nothing,” Mayho said.

“I wanted to come back to defend my title because I think it is one of the biggest races in Bermuda, the one time you get to do one lap of the whole Island so it is a fun race to do.”

Mayho has put the disappointments of last month’s Pan Am Games behind him, when he withdrew from the time trial and then failed to finish the 165km road race. However, since he has returned to competition with his team, Mayho has been competing in regular road races over 100km, which he thinks will put him in good stead tomorrow morning.

And, if the weather conditions are similar to last year when it rained, then all the better, said the 21-year-old.

“Since I’ve been back I’ve had some pretty good results in a couple of races, two fourth places and a fifth in one of the stage races and have been time-trialling better than I’ve ever been so it has been going really well,” he said.

“All of my road races have been longer than this so I’m kind of used to it, but I’m also used to having 150 guys racing with me so it is a lot easier to race over that distance with a lot more people.

“It’s going to be hard no matter what, it’s always hot in Bermuda and if it rains it will be better for me because I’m not acclimatised to the heat yet.

“I wouldn’t mind the rain, I actually kind of like racing in it because compared to a lot of people I can handle my bike a bit better in the rain and it gives me a bit of an advantage.”

The race is the longest on the local cycling calendar, though it still does not have the prestige of the Sinclair Packwood Memorial race on Bermuda Day when thousands line the streets.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to it being some day in the future, but you won’t get that many people out unless it’s a holiday,” Mayho said. “Bermuda Day, you can’t beat that, really.”

The likes of Justin Ferreira — 37 seconds behind Mayho last year — David McComas, Chequan Richardson, Mark Hatherley and Matthew Oliveira will all be aiming to prevent Mayho making it two straight victories. Last year he recorded a winning time of 2hr 40min 0.832sec.

Mayho will leave on Tuesday to return to Canada where he will remain until his team’s last race on September 12, before heading to the World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. After that he will return to Bermuda to continue training for the Caribbean Championships in Barbados on October 17 and 18, which will be his last competition of the season.

A new champion will be crowned in the women’s category where Nicole Mitchell won last year in 2:45.17. An exhausted Mitchell, who is in an “overtrained” state, has opted to skip the race.

Another top female competitor, Zoenique Williams, is also taking some time off following a busy year and she will also not be racing tomorrow.