Abbott defies rain to stay top

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 a reduced field of 25 cyclists, all deciding to compete despite the heavy rain and strong winds, in order to measure themselves against their fellow cyclists in a test of speed and power against the clock.

Due to the strong wind 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. Each rider was individually racing against the stop watch setting off from the start at 1 minute intervals.

The closest competition was in the masters division, where a titanic struggle was expected between Chris Sutton and 2010 champion Laurent Weber. However, with the minimum age reduced to 40 years or older, Jacob Luttermann was hoping to upset the pair and claim the 2011 honours. And so Luttermann did, setting an early pace by lowering the masters course record by 49 seconds to 23 minutes 29 seconds. Weber was next to finish and despite finishing strong he posted a time of 23:33, four seconds off the pace. It was 2009 champion Sutton though that would take the title in a new course record of 23:22. The podium places were separated by just 11 seconds.

In the junior division, regular Julian Johnson set an early pace of 28:49, but course record holder Toby Sutton, Chris’s son, stamped his mark on this event with a time of 25:07 to claim his fourth straight Junior Title.

With ladies 2010 champion Caroline Cahill absent, training for the Cayman Marathon, newcomer to this event Carol Bell started favourite. Bell, who had previously won the 19 mile time trial in the Cayman Classics back in May, was expected to post a strong result over the 10 mile course. She faced a stiff challenge though from course record holder Justine Plenkiewicz and the form cyclists Donna Harding and Gill Comins.

Bell set the early time of 26:35, and true to form her time was never threatened by the other ladies. Plenkiewicz finished second in 27:16 followed by Comins seven seconds later.

In the men’s race, course record-holder Jerome Ameline made a surprise entry on a tandem with his co-pilot the ever present Jerome Begot. Therefore the 2011 title was expected to be decided between 2010 champion Steve Abbott, the current road race champion Marius Deysel and triathletes Ray Welds and Johan heath.

With master’s rider Sutton setting the fastest time of the day, it was the surprisingly strong ride by Patrick Smith to knock Sutton off the top spot with a fast time of 23:02, which was 20 seconds faster than Sutton. However, the favourites were still out on the course.

Next to finish was Deysel in a personal best of 23:26, not quite good enough to topple Smith off the top of the leaderboard, with just three riders to finish.

Smith did not hold the lead for much longer though, as Abbott blitzed home in a personal best of 21:31. Abbott’s time fell short of the course record by a mere 13 seconds despite the weather conditions. With Abbott starting behind the remaining two riders on the course, two minutes behind Welds and a minute behind Heath, Abbott had secured the title for the second consecutive year.

Welds was next to finish, completing the course in 24:18, but it was the arrival of Heath which completed the podium places for 2011, as he knocked fellow countryman Deysel from his podium spot finishing just a second quicker than Deysel, in 23:25.

The championship concluded the 2011 calendar for the cycling association, however, they shall be supporting a number of events such as the Reefathlon in November, and information for this and the 2012 calendar shall be posted on shortly.

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