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Clarke takes the cake

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Clarke takes the cake

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Philip Clarke is riding hard, and riding high in the Land of the Hummingbird.

The Barbadian cyclist capped a superb week in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday, when he showed his tactical prowess to win one of the country’s biggest cycling events.

Riding for the Trinidad-based Heatwave Cycle Club, Clarke was ensconced in the main pack when the bell went for the penultimate lap of the feature 30-lap event on the Michael Phillips Republic Day Classic programme at Nelson Mandela Park. But he came to life on the final lap, reeling in Rafael Meran and Taveras Sanchez to power to victory.

It was a dramatic end to the afternoon’s programme.

The 30-lap criterium gave riders in the big field ample opportunity to pace themselves and go after the various lap prizes on offer.

Barbadian junior cyclist Joshua Kelly, also riding for Heatwave, led on the fifth lap; Jovian Gomez of Team DPS headed the race on lap ten, and halfway through, Netherlands rider Quinten Winkel was in the lead, only for local Joshua Alexander (Team DPS) to take over on the next lap.

By the penultimate lap, Meran of the Dominican Republic and Sanchez had put what seemed like decisive distance between themselves and the rest of the peloton on Serpentine Road, heading to St Clair Avenue.

However, Clarke bore down on the leaders, bringing the pack with him by the time the riders rounded the corner at St Clair Medical Complex. And as the race broke onto Hayes Street, heading for the finish at St Mary’s Ground, Clarke took over, never to be headed again.

Clarke, Meran and Sanchez completed an overseas 1-2-3, with the Alexander brothers, Adam (fourth), Joshua (fifth), and national road and time trial champion Gevan Samuel (sixth) filling the next three slots.

Adam Alexander won the one-lap Clinton Grant Memorial race after holding off Venezuelan Luiz Diaz.

The race was named in honour of the late former national cyclist who was killed in a road accident his year.

And in the other event named after another recently deceased cyclist, Roger Malco of Team Foundation won the Roger Smart Memorial five-lapper for the 40-49 category.

Meanwhile, juvenile rider Tyler Cole produced one the afternoon’s most emphatic rides in finishing way ahead of his rivals in their five-lap event. (BA/Express)