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Mitchell decision pays off

Nicole Mitchell had not planned to compete in the Sinclair Memorial Packwood Race yesterday.

She was all set to take part in the Killington Stage Race in Vermont this weekend but opted out because of a lack of entries.

Ultimately, the decision paid off for Mitchell, who worked closely with Zoenique Williams, her Winners Edge team-mate, to nullify the threat posed by Caitlin Conyers, of Bicycle Works, and claim her second title.

“It didn't work out, the field up there [in Vermont] only had nine riders,” said Mitchell, who finished in a time of 31:20.407. “It didn't make sense when I could race a field here.”

Williams, also a two-times winner, came second in 31:22:628, with Alyssa Rowse, the defending champion, of Bicycle Works, placing third in 31:22.903.

“There were a lot of tactics going on between Winners Edge and Bicycle Works,” Mitchell said. “Caitlin obviously really wanted the win and was attacking on every crest of every climb. I think she ended up burning out a little bit with that strategy.”

As predicted before the race by Williams, it was a case of four riders vying for the title, with Mitchell the first to make the breakaway approaching the final corner on Cedar Avenue.

“What's really exciting to see is that increased depth in women's racing,” Mitchell said. “On any given day any one of us could have won it.

“I knew if I wanted it I had to go early. Zoenique was yelling at me to go. I didn't even know where the finish line was.

“I was looking down at the shadows and just trying to do everything to get to the line.”

Williams said she was more than happy to play a supporting role in Mitchell's triumph.

“I told Nicole on Church Street, ‘If you're going to take it, you've got to go',” Williams said. “She was on my outside and it made perfect sense for her to go for it.

“You know the first person around that corner is going to win unless you're on their wheel.

“Even if I'd been on her wheel I wouldn't have tried to outsprint my team-mate. You work for your team-mate.”

Williams admired Conyers's efforts to breakaway on each and every hill, but believed her attempts became too easy to read.

“We know Caitlin is strong on hills,” Williams said. “But she's not super strong that she can go on the hill and get away from us.

“We knew we had the strength to pull her back every single time she went on the hill. She went on Scaur Hill and we knew that was going to happen.

“The lead was rotating and I knew another hill was coming up and was just waiting for her to go again — and she did.

“It was kind of obvious when she was going to go. There's supposed to be an element of surprise, but we know that's her strength.”

Rowse, who won the junior race, said she was satisfied with her third place as she has been focusing her exams rather than cycling.

“There was a lot of attacks going on, which was kind of stressful because you didn't know what was going to stick,” said the Warwick Academy pupil.

“I've had a late start to the season just with my exams and it being my last year in high school. I wouldn't say I was at my prime fitness.”

Prize presenters Jennifer and Rob Hedges with Sinclair Packwood Memorial Race winners Nicole Mitchell and Dominique Mayho (Photograph courtesy of Bermuda Bicycle Association)

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Published May 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm (Updated May 25, 2018 at 11:42 pm)

Mitchell decision pays off

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