Colombian Edwin Avila Vanegas (Team Krieger) was the overall winner of the Tour of T&T Unity cycling race which ended at the Central Bank, Port-of-Spain, yesterday. In second position was Raphael Merane (Foundation) while Jamie Ramirez (Team Petrotrin) finished third. T&T’s Emile Abraham was 12th, after a disappointing 31st place in yesterday’s tenth and final stage which was named in honour of Cedric Weekes. Abraham completed yesterday’s stage in two hours 12 minutes and one second. Tom Stockdale (Primal Europe) won yesterday’s stage in two hours, two minutes and 36 seconds. Second was Vanegas in 2:2.38 while Merane was third in 2:2.36.
Richard Heathcote (2:2.39.50) and Jamie Ramirez (2:2.40.08) were fourth and fifth respectively. The top five travelled close to 100 kilometres per hour on the final stretch, and had to negotiate traffic at the Cipriani Statue, with only one police on a motorbike directing the traffic towards the finish line at the Central Bank. The stage began at the Mayaro indoor facility and headed to Manzanilla where there was a break away from the pack by the top four. In Wallerfield there were 12 cyclists leading the pack out of the 36 competitors. From Manzanilla, the cyclist headed to Valencia where they enjoyed the flat terrain with the wind resistance in their favour. They then headed into Port-of-Spain.
Stockdale, 20, whose teammate, Ben Simmons previously had the yellow jersey, said that it was good to win although admitting it was not part of his plan. “It was pretty good. We obviously had to protect the yellow jersey so we rode hard on the front to control it. With ten kilometres left, Richard (Heathcote) and I had a chat. The original plan was for me to take the lead and hopefully go on to get fourth. He was seventh yesterday and needed to be half a minute in front to win overall and it was one kilometre to go. I was riding at 65 kilometres in front to stay away from the other guys. I put my head down and it was just nice to win.” T&T’s Abraham and his team Rosetti Devo were affected when Abraham developed a stomach virus.
Abraham described the performance as unfortunate. “The course today was easy, but I came down with a stomach virus. The whole team got it. The only reason I finished the stage is because the guys pushed me and encouraged me. I must say thanks to all the riders who were in the group.” Abraham is looking forward to the national championships. “I am hoping that I recover in time. I will be back down for the Championships.” Abraham noted that this was his 27th year in the sport. “I hope one day, I’ll be recognised for my contribution. I don’t seem to get the recongnition that I deserve. I think I have done a lot for the country but I’ll keep pedalling along and trying to my thing”