Dominique Mayho and Caitlin Conyers king and queen of the road
Dominique Mayho and Caitlin Conyers added another national title to their collections after storming to victory in their respective fields of the CG Insurance National Road Race Championships at Clearwater Beach yesterday.
In the absence of defending champion Tyler Smith in the Open Men’s division, much of the pre-race build-up centred around the highly anticipated tussle between Kaden Hopkins, Mayho and Conor White for the vacated crown.
It proved to be the case as the trio, along with Jamie Cousins, dictated the pace throughout the race until the pivotal penultimate lap of the six-lap race. Having created a gap to Cousins, the remaining three riders were gearing up for an exciting finale, only for Hopkins to suffer a flat tyre.
Capitalising on their rival’s misfortune, it came down to a sprint finish between Mayho and White, with the former using all of his greater experience to time his attack to perfection and pip White in a winning time of 2hr 33min 20sec.
Hopkins, on a replacement bike, managed to finish the race, crossing the line in 2:36:58 to complete the podium places.
“I’m always really proud to win a national title and I’m just delighted,” Mayho said. “I’m really happy to win again and be a national champion for another year.
“Going into the last lap, I was sat behind Conor and Kaden, biding my time for the sprint finish. Unfortunately for Kaden he got a flat tyre; that’s part of racing and from there it was a case of keeping Conor in front of me up to the line.
“Up the finishing stretch, I gave it all my and thankfully it was enough. I don’t train as much as these guys nowadays and really I have one trick left — the sprint finish — and thankfully I was able to play it today.”
Runner-up White conceded he was always facing a daunting task against sprint specialist Mayho when it came down to the crucial chase to the line.
“Myself and Kaden kind of worked together but getting rid of Dom is never easy,” he said. “It was unfortunate that Kaden got a flat tyre when he did and from there I was trying to conserve as much energy as possible.
“However, coming into a sprint finish, if Dom is behind your wheel, you always know it’s almost impossible to keep him at bay. I tried to stand up for the sprint but cramped up and that was that. All I could do was hope his legs were worse than mine, but unfortunately it wasn’t the case.”
For Hopkins, who returned to Bermuda from competing with Spanish outfit Equipo Essax, it proved not to be the perfect homecoming he had envisaged, having completed a hat-trick of national time-trial titles last week.
“It was just a case of bad luck and it’s all part of racing,” he said. “It’s always disappointing to drop out of a race that way, especially as I was feeling good and I felt I was strong enough to win.
“However, it happens, there was nothing I could do about it and it’s all part of the learning experience. I’m obviously disappointed, but it’s out of my control and I have to just move on.”
There was a much more straightforward conclusion to the Open Female race in which Conyers made up for a disappointing third-place finish in last year’s race, to complete a commanding victory and seal redemption.
Having dictated the pace alongside Winners Edge team-mate Nicole Mitchell for the first half of the four-lap race, Conyers picked her moment on the penultimate lap to break away and ride solo to the finish, crossing the line in 2:00:39.
Mitchell settled for second place in 2:05:41, with Karen Smith completing the top three places, crossing the line in 2:07:58.
“I’m really happy, it’s always nice to win a championship,” said Conyers, who hailed the crucial support of Mitchell. “It’s always great to have team-mates in the race, and that really helped me today. Nicole broke solo on the third lap and then the plan was for me to bridge to her. Overall, it was a good day for Winners Edge.
“From there it was a case of me breaking away; and to be able to have a comfortable ride to the line is my kind of finish.
“Last year was a big disappointment for me personally and so it’s great to be able to come back this year and be national champion again. That fire to make up for it was definitely there and that feeling of wanting to win never goes away.”
As is often the case, the Junior Male race provided no shortage of excitement; culminating in Alexander Miller prevailing in an exhilarating sprint finish to pip close friends and rivals Nick Pilgrim and Liam Flannery to the title.
“I went a little bit earlier on the sprint than I think they were expecting and luckily for me it worked out and I managed to beat them to the line,” Miller said. “I’m national champion for the year and that feels great.”
There was also delight for Liana Medeiros, who continued her promising form by claiming the Junior Female title in a winning time of 1:35:50, ahead of Charlotte Millington.