Agard, Williams on top, Greaves returns!

GCF/NSC 3-stage cycling…

− “Obeah man”, Leal out

By Romario Samaroo

Shaquel Agard (Blue) caught up with Hamza Eastman in the time trial to win stage two and take the lead heading into the final stage
Shaquel Agard (Blue) caught up with Hamza Eastman in the time trial to win stage two and take the lead heading into the final stage

A challenging first day to the Guyana Cycling Federation, National Sports Commission’s 3-Stage cycling challenge saw Linden Bauxite Flyers’ Shaquille Agard and Continental’s Geron ‘Lone Rider’ Williams rode to the top of the table after the first two stages and Alanzo Greaves making his return on Saturday.

Agard, who now leads the pack with a total time of 2 hours 47 minutes and 23 seconds (2:47:23) finished the first stage in third while Williams (2:47:33), currently second tied for the top position with Greaves in the first stage.

With the first stage pedaling off from the Carifesta Avenue starting line, the sheep were quickly separated from the wolves as only 28 riders finished the 75 mile road race that sent riders up to Mahaicony and back to the starting line for the finish.

Williams and the returning Greaves matched pedal for pedal in a photo finish as both riders crossed the line joint first. However, Williams received a bonus 10 seconds and Greave gained seven, putting the lone rider at the top. Agard finished third, with a five second difference behind the top man, Williams while team Cocos Hamza Eastman clocked in seven seconds behind, Team Gillette Evolution’s Michael Anthony trailing by eight seconds, Christopher Cornelius and Andrew Hicks nine and 10 seconds short of the leader at the end of the road race.

To the disappointment of the crowd, favourites, Evolution’s Raul Leal and Cocos Raynauth “Obeah Man” Jeffrey were both out of contention as Leal complained of sickness forcing him to drop out the race on his way up to Mahicony and Jeffrey facing frustrating mechanical problems around the Lusignan area.

Speaking with Guyana Times Sport, Williams said that it was a good feeling to come into the first stage as a favourite but to win the race with the talent of Team Cocos and Team Evolution was huge for him.

In the second stage, a time trial from Carifesta Avenue to Plaisance, Agard was adjudged the winner, finishing in a time of 00:08:42, taking the top position on the table overall. Anthony sprinted to second in the stage two and moved up to third overall while Williams remained in contention, clocking in 00:08:57 to secure third in stage two and second overall, trailing Agard by 10 seconds (-00:00:10) heading into the final stage. Cornelius moved up to fourth overall (-00:00:25), while Hicks sits in fifth (-00:00:56), Eastman sixth (-00:01:11) and Greaves seventh (-00:01:12).

Williams said that he was not performing to his best in recent times but attributed it to ill health but now to recover and win was a plus for him. “Over the past week it has been difficult for me because at the Digicel race, I wasn’t feeling 100 percent or in racing condition.” Williams said, adding “I had a rough two weeks after the ounce of gold race and it has been a long recovery period for me and after last week I had to evaluate what I was doing and try my best to monitor my body and make sure I would be in good shape for this weekend and I was able to do so.”

Williams went on to say that even at the beginning of the day, he was not feeling well but after an hour he started to feel better and “get in the groove”.

The third and final stage will be hosted today with a 30-lap race around the outer circuit of the National Park beginning at 13:00h.