Women steal the show in curtain call
And so the curtain fell on another successful cycling season — the Tokio Criterium on Sunday was the final race of the year — and perhaps a preview of things to come in for women's cycling in 2019.
In the combined Adult C/Women class at the popular Fort Knox loop in St David's, the trio of Louise Wells, of Winners Edge, Maddie Durkin, of Tokio, and Rose-Anne Hoey, of VT Construction, stole the show, controlling the race from the front for much of the event.
As the lap board counted down, Wells, Durkin and Hoey took turns setting the pace, and the men were relegated to mere passengers.
On the final lap however, the wily Ricky Smith once again popped up on the front to steal the victory, and add to his reputation as perhaps the most prolific winner in recent years.
Frank Ming, of Bicycle Works, came second, and Nazari Fox, of Bermuda Cycling Academy, added another impressive podium spot at third.
Hoey, Wells and Durkin respectively, finished among the pack.
In the Junior A/B Division, Tokio claimed the spoils, with Rory Fleming winning the Junior A race and Jake Smith winning Junior B.
Rounding out the A podium were Nico Davis, of Bermuda Cycling Academy, and Ava Gabia-Maiato, of Tokio. Harris Fleming, of Bermuda Cycling Academy) and Tom Wells (Independent) rounded out junior B.
Adult B was a fast and steady race. Simon Hanrahan, of Winners Edge, as if shot from a cannon, set a hard pace along the windy loop for the first few laps. Stragglers were left in his wake, fighting for wheels and draft, in search of a bit of respite.
The race settled and riders marked each other's attacks and counter attacks. On the last lap Clifford Roberts, of Bicycle Works, attempted to catch the field napping and launched an attack about 200 metres from the finish.
Unfortunately, he was greeted by stiff headwind on the home stretch and was gobbled up by the pack. Garth Fleming, of Tokio, powered on to claim the victory, followed closely by Hanrahan and Chequan Richardson, of Bicycle Works, for second and third, respectively.
In the Adult A class, Winners Edge's Darren Glasford and Adam Kirk tried to sneak off the front early, but Dominique Mayho, of VT Construction, was having none of that, shutting down the moves quickly.
Things settled, for a race that seemed poised to end in a bunch sprint. Then suddenly, Mayho shot off the front of the pack with about ten laps to go. His team-mate Kwame Curling, conjuring up every ounce of strength from within, latched onto his wheel.
The two sped away from the field, as the chasers resigned themselves to settling for third. With nothing but exhausted smiles on the home straight, Curling finally broke through and earned the win; four years in the making and well deserved. Consummate team-mate Mayho, rose his arms in triumph, savouring the shared effort and team victory. Glasford grabbed third for Winners Edge.
The final race of the day was the aptly named Masters Class, featuring riders aged 40 and above a hodgepodge of cyclists from various categories and ability levels.
Steve Smith, of VT Construction, decided to make the race his own, riding almost exclusively on the front for most of the race; either attacking, setting the pace, or shutting down any would be attacker.
Hanrahan tried a long-shot dig in the dying moments, but Glasford timed his counter to perfection, and caught Hanrahan to steal the victory in the final metres. Alan Mooney, of Tokio, claimed third to round out the podium.