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Matthews back for City finale

Justin Marville

Matthews back for City finale

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The big city man is back in time for cycling’s big city comeback.
It wouldn’t have been a road race without the reigning national champ, so Darren Matthews didn’t fail to deliver, returning home this week as local cycling prepares again to end its 20-year hiatus from Bridgetown in this Sunday’s long-anticipated City criterium.
Originally scheduled for last month, the grand season finale was initially postponed following a scheduling mix-up with the Silver Dollar Drive charity fund-raiser.
But Matthews’ participation in the rescheduled City ride came under a cloud of uncertainty, with the 20-year-old sensation representing Barbados at the ongoing Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
However, Matthews returned home on Monday, just two days after coming just five seconds behind the eventual road race winner for a 15th place finish in the highly-competitive regional ride.
His early return provides further impetus for a much-awaited event that is expected to feature the sport’s biggest names – Esther Miller-Rosemond, Russell Elcock, Kristin Vanderpool, Sedwin Jones – in a one-hour, 30-lap flier.
Starting at Heroes Square in front of the Parliament Buildings at 3 p.m., the circuit takes the riders towards Bridge Street and the Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge, before turning right onto Bay Street.
From there, the cyclists turn right at Independence Square before returning to the Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge to go onto The Wharf Road and Prince Alfred Street. They then turn right onto Broad Street and circle that route several times before finishing at the starting point on Heroes Square.
“It’s going to be an extremely fast race, so spectators won’t want to miss this one,” said Barbados Cycling Union public relations officer Colin Forde, who revealed Matthews’ return.
“This is more for the spectators than anything else but this is still going to be very competitive because of the pace of the event.”
While the race centres around cycling’s big return, the season’s real comeback story has been Miller-Rosemond, the seasoned veteran who capped a lengthy hiatus from the sport by sweeping the women’s national road race titles And the comeback kid added a bronze at the just concluded Caribbean Elite Road Race Championships to boot, after losing just once in eight starts on the local scene.
Elcock, the country’s preeminent junior and two-time national road and time trial champ, will also be looking to extend a two-year unbeaten streak.