Darren Mathews took the Mt Irvine second leg of the 2012 Tobago International Cycle Classic yesterday. The Barbadian cyclist took the Division One four lap 100km race defeating a field of international riders. The 21-year-old finished ahead of Richard Handley of Great Britain and Colombians Jaime Ramirez and Antonio Alarcon. Handley denied Matthews and his Team Coco a clean sweep of the top three spots.
Matthews, who trained at high altitude in Bogota, Colombia earlier this year, improved on his fourth place finish in the first stage at Buccoo on Wednesday. However, Matthew overcame the challenging course in yesterday’s ride which took the riders through the hills of Mt Irvine, Spring Gardens, Whim, Les Coteaux, Arnos Vale and back to Mt Irvine.
The Barbadian contingent had much to cheer about as Stuart Maloney landed the Division 2 two lap event ahead of another Bajan Ross Callender. Sydney Walters of Grenada was third. Maloney was in a close battle Walters before the Grenada fell before the finish, suffering several bruises. The St Georges-Barbadian resident also took Stage one on Wednesday.
Matthews said he and his Team Coco riders favoured the mountainous Stage two. “We are happy with the win. We came out to work for the yellow (shirt, the lead) and got it. We have been training hard on the climbs especially so we were looking to win on the hills. We are not too looking forward to tomorrow (today) with the flat as we have not been training in that area.” Matthews added the heat was challenge for all the riders. “We all suffered. I started to cramp at the end of the race but I pushed through it.”
Meanwhile, Maloney had to recover from a flat to take his second straight win. “I separated from the bunch in the first lap and was on my own, but on one descent I got a flat (tyre). Sydney (Walters) caught me while I was changing the tyre. Both us rode together. Sydney then fell before the finish.”
Maloney rated his Stage two win as easier. “(Wednesday’s) stage was more difficult because I was on my own for a lap and a half and as result I had to work hard.”
Looking ahead to today’s Plymouth stage, Maloney wants to stay ahead. “I am looking forward to maintaining the yellow jersey and to keep winning.”
This year’s Classic will end on Sunday with the UCI 1.2 Tour of Tobago where cyclists can earn UCI ranking points and World Championships and Olympic qualification points. The cyclists will be vying for $120,000 in prizes.
UCI boss Pat McQuaid is expected in Tobago. ESPN is also covering the six day tour.
Overall leader (after two stages)
Darren Matthews Barbados/Team Coco
Stuart Maloney Barbados/Unattached
Sprint King Antonio Alarcon Colombia/Team Coco
Division One-(Four laps-100km)
1 Darren Matthews
2 Richard Handley England/Rapha Condor
3 Jaime Ramirez Colombia/Team Coco
4 Antonio Alarcon Colombia/Team Coco
Division Two-Two laps-50km)
1 Stuart Maloney Barbados/Unattached
2 Ross Callender Barbados/G4S
3 Sidney Walters Grenada/Digicel