Golden girl Amber
Cycling’s golden girl certainly struck it rich.
Amber Joseph may have saved her best for last, winning an ever elusive women’s gold medal yesterday to cap Barbados’ successful staging of the Junior Caribbean Road Race Championships at Lucas Street.
It proved the fitting finish to a great overall team performance that saw juvenile Luke Staffner grab bronze and Jacob Kelly barely miss out on one of his own in the closing junior road race.
But Joseph was the real headline act, becoming just the second Bajan woman to win a junior road race by taking the 50.5k event in one hour, 35 minutes and 09.79 seconds.
The medal was her second in two days and fourth overall for the season, following the previous day’s second-place finish in the time trial and gold and silver medal-winning performances at August’s Pan American Track Championships in Mexico.
“It feels great to perform as good as I wanted to in front everyone at home for the first time,” said the United Kingdom-based 17-year-old.
Locked in a near dead heat with Alyssa Rowse, who beat her a day earlier in the time trial, Joseph made her move going into the bend for Lucas Street and outsprinted the Bermudan on the homestretch.
This was after the two worked together through Thicketts to break away from eventual third-place finisher Tachana Dalger of Suriname and Belize’s Taralee Ordonez.
“Everything went to plan as I was able to use my sprint like I wanted to and pull through. On the last lap coming into the finish line, I wanted to make sure that I hit the corner first and I executed it perfectly,” Joseph said.
Things didn’t go quite to plan for Staffner, but he was still able to deliver a medal after Trinidadian Enrique De Comarmond doubled down on his time trial title by winning the six-lap, 60.6k juvenile road race in 1:46:06.
Caught in a bunch sprint for the finish, Staffner (1:50.11) barely beat the rest of the peloton to the line after De Comarmond’s countryman Joshua Rawlins (1:47.17) easily grabbed the silver.
The two Trinis jumped the pack with two laps remaining before De Comarmond left Rawlins in his wake on the final lap through Thicketts.
“I knew we weren’t seeing them again for the rest of the race when they made that move through Thicketts, so I just sat down in the back of the race and waited for the sprint to see what I could do for third,” said Staffer.
“It was very hard not having a teammate to shelter you while you fight for your own position but the first half of the race was very slow and that worked in my advantage.”
Kelly missed out on winning a second straight medal in the ensuing 89k race for the juniors after Commonwealth champ Matthew Oliveira of Bermuda comfortably completed the time trial/road race sweep.
Unlike the juvenile category, Barbados fielded a strong team with time trial medallists Kelly and Kyle Gill partnered alongside Dillon Gray and Dominic Howard.
However, Gray clipped wheels with a Guyanese rider and fell off the leaders in the very first lap going up Stewart’s Hill.
That lead group eventually dropped Gill and Oliveira then stretched out the entire field before Kelly suffered the first of three mechanical failures.
Kelly (2:44.33) still managed to place fourth behind Oliveira (2:32.18), Antiguan Emmanuel Gayral (2:42.14) and Adrien Urcel (2:44.02) of Guadeloupe. (JM)