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Old fox Downie steals the show

Justin Marville

Old fox Downie steals the show

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Seems the old boy has got some new tricks.
There’s just no keeping down the evergreen Gregory Downie, not for long at least.
The spritely 59-year-old veteran snuck out on an expertly-timed run with five laps to go before capturing the senior division of yesterday’s 40-lap circuit race on the Garrison course.
It proved the perfect birthday present for the seasoned cyclist, who turns 60 at month-end and last won a road race in the 2011 season finale back in November.
But cycling’s old man turned back more than the hands of time on this occasion, beating a star-studded senior field that included the Pan Am Championships’ bronze medallist
Darren Matthews and two-time national champ Simon Clarke.
This was after the highly-rated duo seemed certain of taking the top two spots with seven laps remaining when they and Russell Elcock were out front by themselves.
Looks like “coming of age” meant a lot more for Downie than just turning 60.
With the masters about to finish their allotted 35 laps, the seasoned vet shot out right behind those fast-finishing riders while the rest of the field were consumed with conserving energy and keeping Matthews in check.
And by the time they realized what hit them, Downie opened an 80-second cushion with two laps left before cruising home uncontested.
“I heard Simon in the bunch yelling, ‘Watch Greg! watch Greg!’ but I had the legs and I don’t know who else had them as well,” said Downie, who benefited from a similar strategy last November when everyone was focused on Matthews.
“I just believe in myself and I take my training very seriously.
“I had the flu all week and I actually had to cut off my training and do recovery rides. So I came into the race just hoping to finish, but halfway through the race I found my legs and decided to give it everything I had with five laps left.”
Clearly content with battling for second, Clarke never went after Downie, instead choosing to outsprint Matthews at the line before Elcock finished in fourth.
Downie’s victory was a somewhat stunning finish to a race that opened with Matthews’ CGI G4S Swift teammate Ross Callender holding a huge 50-second lead on the peloton after breaking away four laps into the action.
Masters competitor Gregory Austin eventually reeled him in 14 laps later before lone junior Jesse Kelly (Team Swift) joined the two out front ahead of the race.
However, Matthews inevitably made a move to take the lead, bringing Clarke and Elcock with him as Kelly, Austin and Callender were dropped in the pack.
Edward Julien eventually won the masters’ category five laps before the seniors finished, with A-Class Batteries Golden Wheelers’ Reginald Jones coming second and Reginald Jones (Team Swift) taking third while Downie was in hot pursuit.
“I don’t chase Greg because I have so much respect for him,” said Matthews of his one-time coach.
“I feel no way in losing to Greg because he is my first coach and the man who started me in cycling and got me to a certain level.”
Kelly, AMOND Fugen’s Esther Miller-Rosemond and John Proverbs of Velo Caribe won the juniors, women and over-50 divisions respectively as the categories’ lone competitors.
Kelly’s younger brothers Joshua and Jacob took their respective juvenile and tiny mite divisions.