Posted: Monday, April 11, 2022. 12:53 pm CST.
Photo Credit: William George Ysaguirre
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: US cyclist Katy Sorrell and Morgan Stern of Team Cardinal Partners were too strong and too fast for the Belizean riders winning the 31st Women’s Cross Country Cycling Classic, organized by the Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB), on Sunday by 29 minutes and 52 seconds.
The American duo of Sorrell and Stern rode the 73-mile race from San Ignacio to Belize City at blistering speed from the get-go. After Kedisha Francis won the first station prize at the very start at the Hawkesworth Bridge, Gabrielle Lovell won the next two at Santa Elena Public Works and Eden High School. Stern won the fourth at the Santa Elena Roundabout, Sorrell picked up the next two at Cayo Cargo and Running W Meats before Alicia Thompson captured the Galen University station prize at Central Farm. From there, Sorrell and Stern took over winning all remaining stations prizes all the way to Belize City with both riding across the finish line hand in hand after three hours, 23 minutes, and 17 seconds (3:23:17).
After the start, a number of Belizean riders tried to stay with them, but the Americans rode away after a while.
But for their speed, the Americans rode the race 15 minutes and 48 seconds slower than Mexican Brenda Aguayo who set the record of 3:07:27 in 2003.
But the question is how much the Belizean riders were affected by the tragic death of Edison Usher and Kadeem Banks which happened just before the race as their motorcycle reportedly exploded when they were on their way to Cayo to live stream the Classic. Usher, in particular, had been a staple in cycling for the last 20 years or so, and lately, he had been more involved in organizing Weekend Warriors’ races and live streaming races for the CFB.
What we know is that any other day, the Belizean riders could have done better. When Kaya Cattouse won the race in 2019, she did it in 3:29:10, that’s just 5:53 slower than Sorrell and Stern’s time. That year, Thomspon and Nicole Gallego finished second and third respectively behind Kaya recorded the same time. But this was 41-year-old Thompson’s first race of the year and her experience alone against the much younger Americans (Sorrell is 32 and Stern is 30) wasn’t enough.
The Americans also have the advantage of living and training in Georgia at 2,000 feet above sea level which gives them an edge over the Belizean cyclists.
Thompson finished third on Sunday winning the four-woman sprint in 3:53:09, ahead of C-Ray’s Gabrielle Gabourel, and Chavarria’s Cycling Team’s Paulita Chavarria and Patricia Chavarria.
Sixteen-year-old Gabrielle Gabourel and 19-year-old Paulita Chavaria (she turns 20 on April 14) did an excellent job in keeping up with third place Thompson finishing fourth and fifth ahead of 28-year-old Patricia Chavarria, who had been out of the sport for a number of years and is just making a comeback.
Kedisha Francis finished seventh in 4:01:47. Fiona Castillo, who is also making a comeback at 49, was eighth in $:02:20.
Marinette Flowers and Gabrielle Lovell, who are also making a comeback to the sport, along with Nathalie Lovell, did not finish the race.
2019 champion Kaya Cattouse missed the race to join the LA Sweat, an American professional team, for which she signed lately.
So, we wait for next year.
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