Defending champion Jamie Cousins has crack field on his wheel for President’s Cup
The Bermuda Bicycle Association season is set to come to exciting end on Sunday with the President’s Cup Road Race closing out an extremely competitive, albeit shortened race programme.
The longest event on the calendar, the 100km race takes riders on a full circuit of the island and is regarded as one of the sport’s most sought-after titles.
In what appears to be building up to a battle of the strongest teams committed to taking their top riders to the finish line, VT/Madison will be out in force to try and secure victory again after last year’s impressive win by Jamie Cousins, who has clearly shown he is in top form in recent weeks.
With the likes of national criterium champion Dominique Mayho and Steve Smith among others in his corner, the team will be no doubt contesting the finish on Harbour Road and have cause to be cautiously optimistic for a repeat victory.
The new team on the block this year, Gnosis, will also be full of confidence, particularly with top professional athlete Tyler Butterfield leading their efforts after extending his visit home by a week to ensure he is on the start line.
Butterfield will relish the longer event, having competed in the 225-kilometre Belgian Waffle Race in Utah last month.
Boosted by his leadership, youngster Liam Flannery, who has been on the verge of winning an event all season, may see this as his opportunity to take the top spot. With the Pilgrim brothers, Nic and Alex, as well as Butterfield’s own brother, Spencer, among their line-up, some see the Gnosis team as a top pick for one of their riders to claim victory.
While Winners Edge riders Nicholas Narraway and Alexander Miller may find themselves without the same level of support with team-mate Kaden Hopkins absent having already started his off-season, the two young riders, known for their aggressive attacking racing have both tasted victory in races this season and are expected to be in the thick of the action.
But both riders will need to put their undeniable fitness and ability to good use, and may even have to form temporary alliances with other teams’ riders to ensure they remain in contention, with Bicycle Works and Bermuda Roleurs both expected to field strong teams.
The women’s category, which has produced some excellent racing this season, will see VT/Madison rider Maddie Durkin also looking for a repeat success after winning in 2019.
Part of arguably the strongest women’s team on the island, which includes several top riders, Durkin will be joined by second-place finisher last year, Ashley Couper, and national road race champion Rose-Ann Hoey.
However, one main obstacle stands in their way in the form of Bicycle Works rider Caitlin Conyers, whose early-season international programme in the United States was suddenly cut short because of Covid-19, has clearly returned to top form with a host of solo breakaway victories in recent races.
Winners Edge rider Nicole Mitchell, third last year, and team-mate Louise Wells are sure to be in contention, but a unique feature of the President’s Cup race is that the men’s and women’s fields start at the same time. This will likely favour Conyers, who has often displayed the ability to stay with the front-running men in the early stages, leading to impregnable advantages.