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Clarke regains cycling crown

Justin Marville

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SIMON CLARKE is cycling’s king again.
But not without upheaval.
Mario Forde’s apparent infringement on the fast-finishing Darren Matthews’ late sprint marred the National Road Race Championships’ most exciting climax in recent memory, as Clarke won his second title in three years after yesterday’s sprint to the finish on the Top Rock circuit.
Forde’s violation was the only drawback of the highly anticipated showdown in the seniors category, which lived up to its huge billing when the six front riders were tightly grouped together on the turn for home from the Sagicor Roundabout.
But Dwain Smitten quickly fell out of the running after leading the initial sprint prior to Darwin Griffith’s dropping off the pace, leaving Clarke, Forde and Matthews to duke it out with 2009 champ Jason Perryman.
Matthews twice tried to make a move on the inside towards the line and twice Forde illegally blocked him before Clarke, his Fugen teammate, finished first at the line ahead of Forde and Perryman.
However, both the chief judge and his assistant witnessed the infringements while standing up at the line and later relegated Forde to fourth, giving Perryman (Accessory Miss Online) the silver and Matthews (G4S) bronze.
Matthews’ club mate provided some measure of solace when she overcame a string of poor performances this season to stun rival and reigning champ Denise Crebbin (Velo Caribe) in the women’s equivalent. Third went to Marissa Bradshaw, also of Velo Caribe.
Caribbean Junior champ Russell Elcock (G4S) capped his perfect season on the road when he won his second successive national title in a similar sprint to the finish with second-placed Jamol Eastmond (Fugen) and teammate Matthew Wright.
There were also victories for Jair Harris (Fugen), Liam Lovell (G4S), Don Cadogan (Fugen) and Silverton “Frisky” Clarke (Fugen) in the juveniles, tinymites, over-50s, and masters categories, respectively. (JM)