Williams outfoxes Jeffrey to win Elite Road Race
Report and photo by Avenash Ramzan
Let’s put things into perspective.
He is a lone man team. He was up against the country’s most successful team in 2016- Team Gillette Evolution, led by the in-form Orville Hinds- and a red hot Raynauth Jeffrey, powering a determined Team Coco’s outfit.
Despite those odds stalked against him, it is still always difficult to count him out of the equation. That’s the quality of the man, who has kept the Continental Cycle Club flag flying- Geron Williams.
Cheered on by a large fan base, Williams outsprinted Jeffrey to win the Elite Road Race today when the curtains dropped on this year’s National Cycling Championship, coordinated by the Guyana Cycling Federation.
The 30-lap race around the outer circuit of the National Park petered out to a two-man show between Williams and Jeffrey, two riders who have been campaigning vigorously overseas over the last two years.
The duo connected with each other with 10 laps to go, and constantly opened the gap on the chasing pack, thereby shutting out any hopes the other cyclists had of championship honours.
As the two motored along in humid conditions, they set tongues wagging as the fair-sized crowd which line both sides of the race course started to throw their support behind their favourite rider.
Both riders kept on each other’s wheel as they momentarily exchanged the lead during the last 10 laps, setting the stage for an enthralling finish. With Williams being the superior sprinter, he proved his mettle in the dying stage, pulling away from Jeffrey on the final 100 metres to cross the finish line outside the Guyana Defence Force headquarters on Vlissengen Road.
Race official Joseph Britton stopped the clock at two hours, 42 minutes, 44 seconds (02h: 42m: 44s).
Speaking to News Room minutes after the victory in the 72-mile race, an emotional Williams, sponsored by DeSinco Trading under the Degree brand, said, “Riding without a team here…racing against the odds…it just doesn’t get better than this; this is the best.”
Williams only arrived in Guyana on Wednesday morning from the United States, fully cognisant of the task ahead. While he was in good form on the U.S. circuit, he knew coming against the local competition was going to be tough.
“The win today was a real emotional one for me,” he said. “I know it wouldn’t be an easy race today, but I try to stay focus.”
Jeffrey, fresh off winning Saturday’s Time Trial in Mahaicony after returning from Colombia a week ago, pointed out what may have gone wrong for him. “I think I work myself out a bit earlier because I had to deal with the Evolution team. I had to keep attacking, [to] try to make a break.”
He added, “Actually I was getting a little bit cramp that’s why I wait late to attack. If I had attack early I would have cramp up and that would have been the race for me.”
The Team Coco’s pair Stephano Husbands and Jamal John finished third and fourth respectively, while Team Gillette Evolution’s Michael Anthony took fifth and 2015 champion Hamzah Eastman of Team Coco’s sixth.
Earlier, 32 riders faced the starting line, and as early as the third lap, Williams, Husbands and John opened a sizeable lead on the pack. They had over a minute lead on the others, and when Husbands suffered a puncture on lap 16, the gap closed. Four laps later the Williams and Jeffrey show began.
And when Director of Sport Christopher Jones raised the chequered flag to signal the end of the race, Williams emerged the star, and Jeffrey was left to play the supporting role.