Tight for Abbott in a breeze

There were a number of very close
results in the recent Cayman 10-mile time trial championships, organised by the
Cayman Islands Cycling Association.

The event drew an impressive field,
with more than 40 cyclists turning up to measure themselves against their
fellow cyclists in a test of speed and power.

Due to relatively breezy
conditions, a new course record seemed unlikely, although many cyclists were
still going for personal bests on the course, which stretches from Paradise Bar
and Grill down to the turnaround just short of the Grand Harbour roundabout and
back to the start-finish line.

The closest competition of the day
took place in the junior division, where the largest field assembled for any
recent local race took to the start line. A titanic struggle was expected between
Michael Testori and Toby Sutton. Testori had won their previous encounter, but
Sutton was clearly keen to defend his title. Julian Johnson had a strong ride
for third, but Sutton and Testori were flying out on the course and it was
impossible to say who was looking better. In the end, it came down to a single
second, as Sutton’s time of 24:32 gave him the win ahead of Testori.

In the masters’ division, newcomer
to the time trial scene, Mark Lewis, posted a very respectable 27:27 for third.
However, the top two steps of the podium were certain to be decided between
Laurent Weber and Chris Sutton. In another closely contested battle between the
regular rivals, Weber managed to cross the line in a time of 24:22, just 11
seconds faster that Sutton, who had to settle for second place. Chris Sutton’s
time of 24:33 also meant that he finished one second down on his son Toby.

The ladies’ division also boasted a
strong field, with a number of strong triathletes looking to test their form
and strike a mental blow to their opponents well in advance of the Cayman
Islands Triathlon in November. Gill Comins put in a very strong performance for
a time of 27:39, but found herself falling just four seconds short of second
place, which went to Justine Plenkiewicz. However, it was a flying Caroline
Cahill who took the biggest margin of victory on the day, as she came home with
a time of 27:01 to claim the title.

In the men’s race, course record-holder
Jerome Ameline was expected stake his usual claim to the top step of the
podium. However, the depth of cycling talent in Cayman has increased
significantly over the last couple of years, and it seemed likely that taking
the title would not be a foregone conclusion as in years past.

Jerome Begot (22:53) and Ray Welds
(22:52) put in strong rides to make it into the top five of the men’s division.
Johan Heath, who had hit a rich vein of form due to his training for the
Augusta Ironman 70.3, stormed home just over the 22 minute mark in 22:01,
setting the bar very high for the cyclists still out on the course. Heath did
not hold the lead for long though, as Steve Abbott blitzed home in a time of
21:47. Considering the blustery conditions, it would be a tough time to beat,
even for a time trial specialist like Ameline. As he crossed the line, it
seemed set to be a close finish, but for the first time in quite a while, the
result did not go Ameline’s way, as the stopwatch revealed that he had crossed
the line in 21:52, just five seconds shy of Abbott’s time.

The rivalries stoked by the close
finishes in the 10-mile time trial will be renewed at the upcoming Reefathlon
19-mile time trial, set for 21 November, where the local contingent will take
on Reefathlon record-holder Pete Stetina, a former US under-23 national time
trial champion and pro cyclist with the Garmin-Transitions team.

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