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Eastmond wins first national


Eastmond wins first national

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CYCLING’S GREAT FUTURE is here right now.
The sport’s biggest stage now belongs to Jamol Eastmond after the gifted 19-year-old made up a more than five-minute gap before outsprinting teammate Jason Perryman to win yesterday’s National Road Race title on the Top Rock circuit.
It stands as the crowning moment of a meteoric rise to the top for Eastmond, who rode off with local cycling’s ultimate prize in just his second season in the senior ranks.
“It feels great,” said the young rider after his win. “It hasn’t settled in as yet but when I get home I guess it will kick in.”
The speed of his success should come as no surprise as Eastmond announced his arrival in the top flight a year ago with successive wins on the road to open the season.
The win still proved somewhat of a shock on the day though, considering Perryman virtually rode by himself for 18 of the 22 laps while leading by as much as five minutes and six seconds after breaking away inside the initial 20 kilometres of the 160k event.
However, Philip Clarke, a Mecalfab Heat Wave teammate of both Eastmond and Perryman in Trinidad, led an individual attack that helped Eastmond to rope back in his more seasoned club member.
The three then rode together out front for the final three laps before Eastmond held off the 24-year-old Perryman in a sprint finish to win the race in four hours, 23 minutes and 47 seconds.
“He could’ve won hands down if he wanted to because there was no one capable of pulling him back,” Eastmond said of Perryman, who last won the national title three years ago.
“But the plan was for me to win it all because I hadn’t won the big one as yet. Thanks to Jason because he held it up for me and set up the win.”
“I had my worries at first but I knew my fitness and I also knew that I would be good in the climbs and in the sprint. Philip Clarke then told me to relax and stay calm and everything will work to suit,” he added.
At first the plan appeared to favour a Perryman victory after the former national champ stormed out to the front of the pack following the first of the two initial 25km laps, which took the riders
 from the Errol Barrow Roundabout start/finish up to the airport and back.
So domineering was his ride that the peloton could only catch glimpses of Perryman going in the other direction of the gruelling circuit race.
 Master Tim O’Neal initially tried to catch him before Clarke led a five-man chase group that included promising juniors Edwin Sutherland and Joshua Kelly.
They never got any closer than a three-minute margin though, before Clarke made his own individual break while Eastmond kept the rest of the peloton in check. Eastmond eventually caught up to Clarke a lap later and the two then joined Perryman for the final three laps.
Clarke settled for third place, while time trial record holder Russell Elcock, defending champ Mario Forde and Greg Downie finished fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Earlier, Sutherland came home almost an entire lap ahead of his nearest rivals to win the junior division, relegating Kristin Vanderpool and Kelly to second and third respectively.
In the tiny mites, Tremaine Forde-Catwell edged second-placed Chayne Goodman and Jacob Kelly to take that crown before Darius Ramsammy downed Vernon James and Sean Sargeant in the juvenile equivalent.
Reigning women’s champion Esther Miller-Rosemond repeated once more as the lone competitor in the field while Edwin Julien upended O’Neal to win the masters. There were also victories for John Proverbs and Mark Gilkes in the over-50 and novice divisions respectively.