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Mayho holds off Mewett challenge

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Out in front: Mayho won the criterium race for the fourth time (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Dominique Mayho returns to Belgium today on a high after winning his fourth Bermuda Bicycle Association Criterium Championships in Hamilton yesterday.

Mayho, the island’s No 1 rider, has spent much of this season competing for amateur club Jonge Rakkers Vollezele where he will continue his development for the remainder of the campaign.

The 22-year-old survived a minor scare before the race had even started when his chain came off during the warm-up lap, almost causing him to crash and jamming his right knee against his bike’s handle bars.

“Once we started it took me a couple of laps to get warmed up and then the knee was fine,” said Mayho, who finished in a time of 55min 07.9sec.

Mayho pushed the pace and worked closely with Anthony Bartley to protect the early lead he opened up and admits he was concerned about the threat posed by Geri Mewett, a Bermudian back on the island for the annual BBA Junior Cycling Camp.

In a last-minute surprise, former professional cyclist Kris Hedges took the start line. The four-times time-trial Caribbean champion and former Snow Valley rider was never going to be a contender, but his presence added to the excitement.

“The first couple of laps we got in a break with two Winners Edge guys and Geri Mewett,” said Mayho, who finished ahead of Bartley, who was second in 55:52.3, and Mewett in third in 56:43.5.

“That got pulled back and Anthony Bartley attacked and I went with him.

“I wanted to make sure that stuck because I was afraid of Geri Mewett because he’s super strong.

“I just buried myself for a couple of laps to open up the gap and then Anthony started to rotate with me and he became like a team-mate in that situation.”

Mayho heads to Belgium for a six-week stint of racing and is searching for his second victory of the season after winning the Moerbeke 112km road race in Geraardsbergen in May.

“I’ve got a big five-day stage race in Belgium soon and after that probably a couple of small races,” said Mayho, who represented Bermuda at last summer’s Pan Am Games in Toronto and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

“I’ve learnt a lot this year in Belgium and actually won a race. Hopefully I can go back and try to build on that.”

Zoenique Williams was aggressive from the start to emerge victorious in the women’s race, working well with Alyssa Rowse who was the sole competitor in the junior female race.

Rowse went hard from the start line and lured Zoenique Williams to join her and the pair then quickly distanced themselves from the chasers.

Rowse’s race was six laps less than the open female event so she crossed the line and left Williams to work for the remainder of the race to stay ahead of the chasers.

Leading the chase was Rose-Anna Hoey who put in an impressive ride.

As Williams is a team-mate of Karen Smith and Gabby Arnold who were with Hoey, neither of the Winners Edge riders were expected to contribute to the chase.

This left Hoey to pursue Williams for the entire race. At times she was able to make a dent in the lead but in the end it counted for little as Smith and Arnold sprinted for second and third.

“I just thought I’d go out from the gun and when I looked back there was only Gabby [Arnold] and Aylssa [Rowse] there,” said Williams, whose time was 44:57.7.

“Our team-mate Karen [Smith] managed to bridge up and then Rose-Anna Hoey came up as well.

“Rose-Anna went to the front and started drilling it, but I told my team-mates just to leave her up there because there was three of us and one of her.

“It wasn’t a good tactic for her and when we got Reid Street by the [HSBC Bermuda] bank I attacked and Gabby dropped on [Hoey’s] wheel and I bridged up to Alyssa and managed to work with her.”

Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in February and occasionally suffers from numbness in her hands and arms when her heart rate spikes during a race.

The 31-year-old said she was learning how to manage her symptoms and that her confidence was growing with every race.

“I’ve always loved racing and it was just about working out what I can do and what I can’t, and when I can push and when I can’t,” she said.

“With MS you’re just learning everyday how to deal with it. I look at my heart rate a lot when I’m riding and I’ve been training all season long.”

Smith was second in the women’s race in 45:46.5 while Arnold finished third in 45:46.8.

In the junior male race Dylan Hill was victorious after taking the title ahead of Tyler Smith who was disqualified for using gearing outside of the regulations.

Alex Pilgrim, who had been with the two leaders until late in the race, was promoted to second and Ben Edwards out-sprinted Ziani Burgesson and Conor White to earn the final spot on the podium.

Also racing yesterday, Manning Smith won the junior B event and Caleb Ingham claimed the in junior A title.

Next up for the islands cyclists is the President’s Cup on August 28.

Follow the leader: the pack turns on to Queen Street (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
All ages: cyclists young and old competed in the championships (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Junior Criterium Championships (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Disqualified: Smith was penalised for illegal gearing (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
The main event: the senior men head up Reid Street (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)