To Cayo and back- 73rd Annual Holy Saturday Crosscountry Cycling Classic Excerpt:
"Jawmain" brings garland back home!

Good evening I'm James Adderley and we certainly want to welcome you to this serving of Sports Monday. The 73rd Annual Cross-Country Classic fell victim to its most controversial start ever, as a protest almost shut down the Holy Saturday race. At the heart of the standoff is this pair of riders wearing the Quintana Roo uniforms, whom some say are actually Colombians bearing Mexican passports and were in any case riding for Smiling Meats.

Douglas Lamb, Talking to Cyclists "All you cyclists who want to support this today, draw to the line now." (Crowd cheers as cyclists move to the line) Douglas Lamb of Santino's explains.

Douglas Lamb, Santino's Jamis "For the two Colombians that we have riding, who come as Mexicans, we want them to come out of the race. If they don't come out of the race, no cross-country today! If they don't come out of the race, no cross-country!"

Here is the first shooting of the starting gun-nobody makes a move and we'll just tune you in to some of the further goings on. (Crowd and cyclists making a lot of noise.) With only Albert Castillo of Smiling Meats gone, the rest of the riders hesitate before taking off, and then one by one they begin to do the right thing as the 73rd edition finally gets underway.

This is Albert Castillo picking up his last of four station prizes before being reeled in by the pelathon. At La Democracia, Samuel Gordon takes that station prize, but would not be heard from again in this race. At Roaring Creek a three-man breakaway featuring Douglas Lamb, Jeffrey Zelaya and American Frank McKanon, tried to make it stick. However, the Busman Arnold prize sees John Cippola of the U.S. stepping up to take that one.

And then the lead four is joined by the 1999 champ Chris Fredericks. This five would go all the way to San Ignacio with Chris Fredericks taking the halfway prize of fifteen hundred bucks. The big five couldn't run away people and finally get gobbled up by the chase pack around mile thirty-seven. At mile thirty-five the biggest move gets made, Andrew Smiling, Ernest Meighan and the Mexican/Colombian Jose Miguel Robles Lopez, who became the most important impact rider in Holy Saturday's ride. For the remainder of the race, Lopez would single handedly carry the pace all the way into the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, sweeping most of the station prizes en-route.

So it's this trio of riders entering the Marion Jones Complex for the big finish. And now all three prepare for the winning lap. The visitor, Jose Lopez shows no inclination to win the big prize, so he backs off the pace. Ernest Meighan attacks from the outside to take the lead-Andrew Smiling responds, and for a moment, it's a dead even, until Ernest Meighan makes one final push, which gives him his second cross-country win in five years. A very disappointed Andrew Smiling settles for 2nd and Jose Lopez takes 3rd in uncontested fashion.

This is Miguel Perez, the Guatemalan, who tried to catch the lead trio. However he felled short, but finished unchallenged for 4th place. Francisco "The Animal" Flores did a good job, but had to settle for 5th place as he rolls in here. Meanwhile, former champ, Big Mike Lewis, out sprints the field to finish 6th. Ernest Meighan, Winner, Cross Country Cycling Classic "I've been waiting for this race for a long time. Everybody was really disrespecting me because I haven't won a race for this year, but I made them eat all the small crowns. I ate the big one."

James Adderley "Take us through the final moment of that sprint. It started around the last curve, you were the last man to pull the trigger." Ernest Meighan "I realised that Andrew Smiling wanted to get behind me. I realised that his foreigner worked for him and he's not going to really try and win this race, so I didn't worry about the foreigner. I knew he was going to bring it hard around the curve for Andrew Smiling because he's really a wind up sprinter. I'm not really a wind up sprinter, but I was very strong today and I did it."

Andrew Smiling, 2nd, Cross Country Cycling Classic "The track was kind of wet, and when I caught him my back wheel started slipping a bit, so I had to whole up a little bit. As you see at the end, he actually fell down. I was kind of afraid and didn't want to fall down, so didn't get off my seat and sprint. But no excuse, I beat me." Francisco Flores", 4th, Cross Country Cycling Classic "All I can say is I tried and Ernest proved to be the better guy today. Congrats to him."

Turning to the football scene, the BFL playoffs got off over the weekend with all the home teams picking up the W. Kulture Yabra blanked Metro Stars 2-zip at M.C.C. Grounds. Builder's Hardware Bandits scorched Juventus 1-nil and defending champ Sagitun host Real Verdes 3 to nothing.

Before the race article: To Cayo and back- 73rd Annual
Holy Saturday Crosscountry Cycling Classic

by Amandala Newspaper:

The time to beat to Cayo and back is 5:49:16. This record was set in 1998 by American Ben Bernard, who shattered the six-hour barrier on the way to winning the 70th riding of the Holy Saturday Crosscountry Cycling Classic.

This year, over one hundred cyclists are expected to line up with the hope of taking the Crosscountry garland this Holy Saturday, April 14.

The dispute over the foreigners has been settled, and almost 90 riders have signed up already for the 144-mile ride. (There will be no Eduardo Uribe or Gerardo Castillo) Seven of the local teams have abided by the Belize Cycling Association ruling that only two foreigners will be allowed per team this year.

Defending champion Guatemalan/American Gustavo Carillo has registered for the event and will be riding for Team Cayo. Carillo will be ably aided in his defense of the title by Shane "Hot Rod" Vasquez, who has recently returned from training in Cuba. Vasquez had also trained in Guatemala in preparation for this event. Guatemalans Walter Leonel Rustrien and Victor Hugo Rustrien are also members of this group. The other members of Team Cayo are Elston Rojas, Omar Cruz, Mirari Cano, who won the prep race last week, Roger Troyer and Richard Troyer.

The top two cycling clubs in the country - Santino's Jamis and Guinness Smiling Kulture Continental Airlines, will continue their rivalry on Holy Saturday as both teams fight to win the garland. The Smiling Team has two of the best cyclists in the country in Andre "Bones" Smiling and Quinton "The Baddest" Hamilton. Smiling won this year;'s Belmopan Cycling Classic and "The Baddest" has done two training stints in Cuba. That combo of youth and experience, along with the addition of former Crosscountry champion, Frank MacCannon, will definitely give some trouble in the 2001 bout. Hubert Johnson, Keith Johnson and Albert Castillo will support the Smiling stars in search of the roses.

Santino's Jamis, with former Crosscountry champions, American Chris Fredricks (1999) and Ernest "Jawmaine" Meighan (1997), will be making a dash for this year's title. Mateo Cruz is poised for a big race, while James Frampton, Ariel Rosado, Kareem Flowers, Jose Choto, Juan Gonzalez, the hard-pacing Douglas "Barcelona" Lamb, Paul Trapp, Barney Brown and American John Cipola will ride as members of this elite team.

The 2001 BEL KREM Cycling Classic winner Guatemalan Miguel Angel Perez will lead Team Galvez into the race riding under Team Galvez. The respectable Jeffrey Zelaya is a member of this team, as is young Jamal Tablada of Excelsior. Tablada won the Mountain Bike Race to Roaring Creek held last week. Shawn Lightburn and Jorge Pineda are also members of this team.

Malic Poultry, under the technical direction of music deejay and a former Crosscountry rider himself, Stone Jam Hyde, will send 3-time champion Charles Lewis (1990, 1991 and 1994), Anthony Taylor, Derrick Mahler, Miguel Jones, Paul Trejo and Morvin Robinson with big hopes.

Team Sunflower will send Henry Moreira, Herman Requena, Ryan Garbutt, Orson Butler, Leroy Betson, Barrington Young and Armin Rahm.

Team Vargas (JMA Motors) is made up of Francisco "The Animal" Flores, Elbert Pope, Fred Usher and George Abraham.

Chatoyeh from Dangriga will also send a five-man team. The team consists of a rookie cast led by Herman Pastor, Donovan Clare, Denroy Langford, Pedelmo Omar Cruz and David Max Flores.

Team BDF will be led into this "bike battle" by Major George Lovell, with support from fellow soldiers Corporal Horrel Nicholas, Private Linden Rojas, Sergeant Fitzeroy Gillett, Captain John Borland and Sergeant Glen Jones.

High school cycling star Bruce Sanchez of SJC will ride as the solo member of Radiance Jewellry. Sanchez has dominated the high school races, but his Holy Saturday ride will test his manhood.

Western Sunrise of Cayo, Elite and the Triathlete Zombies led by Calman Williams are other teams that have signed up for the event which is the biggest one day sporting event in Belizean sports.

An interesting change in this year's event is the absence of the female segment of this race. The female Crosscountry race will be held on May 13.

The Holy Saturday champion will receive the $5000 first place price donated by the Belize Telecommunications Limited. Second place winner will receive $3000 sponsored by the Ministry of Education; third place, $2500; fourth place, $2000; fifth place, $15000 donated by Brothers Habet; sixth place, $1000; seventh place, $800; eighth, ninth and tenth places will receive$500 each.

The first junior cyclist to cross the line will get $1000 donated by JEMA, while the second place junior will get $5000. Robert Hoare & Co. has donated $300 to the third place junior rider.

Discuss the Crosscountry Cycle Race on the Message Board here.