Venezuelan Carlos Linares took first place honours in the opening Stage One of the 2018 Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC) on Wednesday.
The Raiders team rider won the Division One 120km/10 lap event ahead of France’s Mikael Stanislas of team Sentry/Boatyard and another Venezuelan Maximo Rojas (Raiders).
The 27-year-old Linares made his move on the last lap, sprinting away from the patch along the Shirvan Road to ease over the finish line in a time of 2 hours, 21 min and 17.48 sec (2:21:17.48). Stanislas was well back in 2:21:29.95 but comfortably ahead of Rojas (2:21:37.19) for the runner-up spot.
Stanislas made a bid for glory with three laps left, but Linares came out from nowhere to overtake him near the Old Grange Police Station and pedalled to the first leg win.
However, there was no stopping Stanislas, taking the Sprint king title ahead of Martinez and Ramos while Venezuelan Robert Sierra of Heatwave took the top Under-23 title.
Veteran rider Emile Abraham was the top local finisher in fifth (2:21:52.27) riding for Team Pharmaco. He was later named top Masters (Over 40) cyclist while Stephen Alexander was adjudged the top local rider.
Afterwards, Linares, speaking with a translator said the win was one of joy.
“I was not feeling too good before the race. I didn’t think I was able to finish but I found the strength. I made my move at the 3km to go with a breakaway. The race went according to plan. The initial plan if is there was a sprint finish they (my teammates) will work with the sprinters. There were breakaways and we were all attentive.”
Meanwhile, in Division Two 60km/5 laps event, Guyana’s Andre Greene (Rigtech Sonics) outsprinted Venezuela’s Andres Diaz (Raiders) for the win.
The two broke away from the main peloton from the start, staying just behind Bram Sanderson of Dominica, who was ahead after the first lap. A flat tyre later forced Sanderson out and Greene showed strength to take the win. T&T’s Maurice Burnette, of Phoenix, stormed home for third ahead of compatriots Zion Pulido and Christopher Govia, both of Breakaway.