Saturday, April 4th 2014.UPDATE: Aaron Humes Reporting: The Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic came to a dramatic conclusion after 140 grueling miles on the George Price Highway beginning just after six this morning.
The sons of veteran rider Calman Williams of Los Angeles, California, Justin and Corey Williams, dominated the race almost from its start and Justin, the elder, became the first Belizean-American to take the garland of roses just after midday.
An early break established near Rockville at Mile 20 saw a group of five leave the peloton. They were later joined by six other top riders including former champion Shane Vasquez and they led the peloton into San Ignacio at a brisk 2 hours and 35 minutes, just four minutes off the record pace set in 2009 by Marcos Antonio Rios.
On the return journey near Teakettle the group of eleven dropped Erwin Middleton and Richard Santiago and the resulting group of nine ran past Belmopan, establishing near Cheers it split into two, with a final group of five on the lead: Belizean-American brothers Justin and Corey Williams riding for Team Bel-Cal out of Los Angeles; American Scottie Weiss of Team Starlight; Mexican rider Zahir Jimenez Godinez of Cancun and Belizean David Henderson of Team SMART Zoom.
At the finish line Corey Williams led out his older brother and Justin did the rest, sprinting past Weiss at the tape in an unofficial time of six hours, three minutes. David Henderson placed third; following was Zahir Godinez in fourth and Corey Williams finished fifth. Sixth place went to Byron Pope of Benny’s Megabytes, seventh to Chris Harkey, eighth to Manuel Rodas, ninth to Jose Choto and tenth to Colombian Jose Robles.
The new champion says he is proud of his win and to be a Belizean and did it for the country of Belize. He admitted that he had to control his emotion as he came in with the group and described today’s win as a group effort, with brother Corey doing the lion’s share of the work and holding off a last attack from Weiss to secure the win. Justin Williams won an assortment of prizes and trophies including a guaranteed $6,000 and the “first-Belizean” prizes which include a plot of land from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture.
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