Michael Testori showed that
Cayman’s young cyclists are becoming a threat to their more established
counterparts as he out-gunned a powerful field at the Reefathlon cycling event
In spite of rainy weather, 57
participants took to the start line, which was a new record for the event.
Fortunately, the weather held off during the ride, even though the roads were
The event, organised by the Reef
Resort in East End, started with a social loop of 19 miles, which was completed
at a pace that all the participating cyclists could hold. The field included
youngsters taking part in their first big group ride, and even a cyclist with a
child in a seat on the back of her bike.
Everyone completed the first loop
together, but the pace shot up immediately as the speed limiters came off and
the stronger cyclists moved to the front. The second loop was to determine the
placings in the junior and ladies divisions and with big turnouts in both divisions,
it was going to be a tough battle.
The continuing battle between Toby
Sutton and Michael Testori in the juniors was expected to deliver fireworks,
while Pam Travers was expected to perform well in the ladies’ division although
the gap between the top females has dropped dramatically over the last year.
Even though the pace was lifted to
above 25mph on the second lap, a large group approached the line together.
However, it was Testori who managed to sprint clear, beating Sutton for the
win, with Julian Johnson finishing third. Donna Harding was the surprise winner
in the ladies division as she managed to pull clear of the group, with Travers
in second and Andrea Roach taking third, less than half a bike length in front
of Lisen McGladdery in fourth.
The third lap would decide the
senior men and masters men divisions, but a number of the juniors elected to
remain in the race and try their hand at beating their elders. The blustery
conditions were ideal for a breakaway, and as the peloton started getting
closer to the finish, the contenders were starting to get nervous.
Race favourite Jerome Ameline had
already worked on his plan of attack during the second loop. He said: “I
figured out that I could have my chances in the little hill of Blowholes to make
an escape and try to hammer it until the end to keep the
advantage. When we started the third loop, I was sticking to the plan, saving
my energy, waiting for the moment.”
However, his plan was almost undone
when Chris Sutton, Chris Graham and Michael Testori launched an attack before
Blowholes. However, Tom Stephens tried to bridge the gap and ended up dragging
everyone, including Ameline, almost up to the rear wheel of the break. “Just
before the connection, before East End town, I saw the opportunity and I made a
surprise attack,” said Ameline. “Steve Evans was on my wheel at that time, and
had the good reflex to follow, while Michael Testori had enough energy to catch
the wheels when I passed the three escaped guys.”
Michele Smith, sensing the danger of
the move, put in a gargantuan effort to bridge to the break, leaving a group of
four in front of the peloton. “I would have preferred to be by myself but four
people escaped meant at least a fourth position at the finish line,” said
Ameline. “The tactic was now to keep the pace going but save as much as energy
as possible for the final sprint.”
Expecting Smith to launch the
attack, Ameline stayed on his wheel. However, it was Testori who went first.
Smith responded, but then pulled up
with an apparent cramp. Ameline hesitated for a second, thinking that Smith had
suffered a mechanical hiccup, but by the time he realised this was not the
case, Testori was already far ahead.
Ameline gave it his all, but could not close the gap on Testori who
crossed the line first. Ameline came second, disappointed that he had not been
able to take the win, but elated for Testori. “Michael has been training for
the last few month at Revolutions. We gave him plenty of tips to make him a
better cyclist, the fact that he won made me very happy,” said Ameline. Evans
was third, indicating a welcome return to form for one of the stalwarts of
Cayman cycling, with Smith limping home in fourth.
Sutton repeated winning the masters
division as he managed to hang with the main chase pack, while Laurent Weber
came in a little off the pace for second place.
According to the organisers, the
event lived up to its intention of bringing new faces into organised cycling
and it is hoped that some of the participants will go on to become regulars at
events on Island.
“Sunday marked the one-year
anniversary of the Reefathlon and it was great to see the event becoming ever
more popular,” said Sarah-Jane Whitehill
of the Reef Resort.
“The Reefathlon supports the Cayman
Islands Cancer Society and the Livestrong Foundation, with so many riders out
on Sunday and hopefully more for future events, these charities will benefit
The next event on the Cayman
Islands Cycling Association calendar is the 10-mile time trial championship on
10 October, with the next Reefathlon event, a 19-mile time trial, on 21
For more information, visit
caymancycling.com and reefathlon.com