Antigua & Barbuda’s top cyclists battled the harsh weather in Dominica over the weekend and came out on top, claiming first, third, fourth and fifth places in the OECS Cycling Championships held there on Sunday.
Overseas-based rider and former national champion, Jyme Bridges Jr, successfully negotiated the “mountainous and wet” terrain to grab the number position and claim the top prize after a ride in 3:29:30.
Veteran Marvin Spencer just missed the second spot but grabbed a bronze medal in the third position, riding over the finish line in 3:04:49 just behind of St Lucia’s Andrew Norbert who finished in 3:00:20.
Another Antiguan rider, Jeffrey Kelsick grabbed fourth with 3:05:16 even after suffering a fall, while Emmanuel Gayral rode over the line in the fifth position in 3:09:24.
President of the Antigua & Barbuda Cycling Association (ABCA) Mervyn Gore, who was also in Dominica for the event, praised the athletes for the way they performed given the conditions.
“Everybody performed exceptionally well because at some point we were behind because it was a very mountainous [course]. We just crawled our way back and just picking off cyclists one at a time and that’s why we were able to sustain the positions of first, third, fourth and fifth,” he said.
“We were always confident that we would have done well but during the race things changed in terms of the rain and what we had planned didn’t pan out then everybody just had to adapt and find new strategies and new ways in reference to how we were going to tackle the race,” he added.
Antigua & Barbuda’s triumph did not come cheaply however, as veteran cyclist Robert Marsh suffered probably the worst collision of the race, leaving him with several injuries.
“We had some real serious crashes because the roads were wet since it was raining a lot. Jeffrey Kelsick fell first at a metal bridge and had to change his wheel and stuff like that. Emmanuel Gayral got a blown tyre and Robert Marsh, a police motorcycle ran into him head-on so he was eliminated from the race instantly,” Gore said.
Marsh received some treatment from a medical team present at the race while Gore hinted he was slated to receive stitches at the hospital.
The cyclists will now turn their attention to the John T Memorial race in Anguilla next week.