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Mayho proves clinical

Treble top: Mayho, left, Hopkins, centre, and Oliveira solidify their reputations as the island’s leaders yesterday (Photograph by Leslie White)

It was a clinical display of riding yesterday in the Winners Edge Road Race, when Dominque Mayho and 17 year olds Matthew Oliveira and Kaden Hopkins solidified their reputation as the islands top three riders.

They left the rest of the top field of A category riders in their wake as the Bermuda Bicycle Association’s 2017 season got under way in challenging, conditions on the blustery North Shore Road loop course.

In typical fashion it was Winners Edge rider Oliveira who made the first move after turning at Swizzle Inn quickly opening up an impressive gap by the end of the first lap. The first rider to respond was Team Madison’s Kwame Curling, who was quickly joined by Hopkins — another Winners Edge rider — but with the team having decided to split their riders into two teams to enhance the racing this season, the youngster was free to join forces with Curling to chase down the leader.

In a predictable move behind, sensing the danger of the breakaway, Mayho powered away from the pack and quickly joined Hopkins and Curling and with the three now working together it was clear that it would only be a matter of time before Oliveira’s gutsy attack off the front would be reeled in. By the end of the second lap, with Curling unable to maintain the chasing pace, it had become a three-man race with Mayho, Hopkins and Oliveira now all together appearing to form a temporary alliance to distance themselves from the rest of the field.

For two laps, the leaders worked tirelessly opening up a six-minute lead and by the time the trio passed the crowd at the side of the road on the final lap it was inevitable that they would be treated to a sprint finish.

As the three came into sight with 100 metres to go, Mayho and Oliveira were locked in battle with Hopkins just off the back. On the line it was Mayho taking victory by a fraction of a second, with Oliveira and Hopkins completing the top three.

Women’s cycling has clearly seen a major boost in interest during the off-season with 22 riders in two categories on the start line.

In the A race it was a tactical battle controlled by Madison, who took advantage of their numbers with constant early attacks that saw Rose Anna Hoey open up a 30-second gap which she held for a couple of miles before being reeled in by Winners Edge rider Karen Smith.

At the top of Crawl Hill, Madison’s April Joyce counter-attacked and was chased down by Erica Hawley, of Winners Edge. What would become the significant move then came from Madison rider Ashley Estwanik, who broke off the front opening a gap that would hold to the finish.

The battle continued in the group behind and as it came down to the finishing straight, Karen Smith, April Joyce and Sarah Bonnett were clear with Joyce taking second less than a second in a tight finish ahead of team-mate Bonnett completing a one, two three for their team.

In the Women’s B category, added this year to encourage new riders, it was clearly worked as 12 riders contested the two-lap race. Two riders made a move off the front, with Eileen Mullowney and Aine O’Sullivan of Team Misfits worked together until the finishing straight with Mullowney winning one of the closest of finishes of the day just 0.6 sec ahead of O’Sullivan with Caitlin Conyers rounding out the top three 1min 16sec behind.

The biggest field of the day saw 38 riders vying for honours in the Adult B race over three laps. With one lap down the huge pack was still tightly grouped together with no significant moves as the riders jockeyed for position. The breakthrough finally came when three riders eventually pried themselves off the front, and despite being on competing teams Grant Goudge, Bicycle Works, Gary Raynor, Winners Edge and Kian Wookey, Team Tokio quickly agreed to work together to maintain a lead over the chasers. Working efficiently together until the final turn at Barkers Hill roundabout and realising they had an insurmountable 30 lead the gloves came off in the finishing straight with Raynor and Wookey making a break for the line. However Goudge put all his experience to good use as he edged past them in an exciting sprint finish.

In the two lap Adult C event, another big field of 30 riders would see a fairly uneventful race for the first lap with one rider, Tokio’s Randolph Smith off the front on his own for most of the lap but clearly within reach of the pack. As the strong winds took a toll on Smith he was eventually caught leaving over 20 riders still with a chance of victory. It was the junior riders in the race that finally lit the fuse with Nick Pilgrim, of Bicycle Works, and Tokio’s Caleb Ingham forcing the pace out of the final turn driving towards the finish line but appearing to ease up too early, Winners Edge veteran Michael Thomas took full advantage powering across the line first with Ingham second, Frank Ming third and Pilgrim next with all four riders separated by less than a second.

BCA rider Tommy Marshall was in a class on his own in the one-lap Junior A race, breaking away at the start and riding to an impressive solo victory.

Jasmin Hasslekuss, Gordon Smith and Marcel Hatherley were the top three finishers in the two-mile Junior B event.