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2016 Women’s Cross Country Start List

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The 2016 Women’s Cross Country Classic start list was released tonight and the faces remain the same for the year thus far.

Alicia Thompson, Belize Bank/Swoosh
Gabrielle Lovell, DigiCell 4G Cycling Team
Gina Lovell, DigiCell 4G Cycling Team
Kaya Cattouse, C-Ray Cycling Team
Patricia Chavarria, C-Ray Cycling Team
Paulita Chavarria, C-Ray Cycling Team

Gina Lovell is a two-time champion (2006, 2004) and a four time podium finisher in this race. However, her last time on the steps was in second place finish in 2009. She has not spent much time in competitive cycling in recent years and her road back this year has not been slow. Winning in such a short time back is difficult but presents a great opportunity to combine efforts with her sister and teammate Gabrielle.

Gabrielle Lovell flirted with success around the same time her sister reigned as she finished second in 2005, her only podium finish. Like Gina, she has been off the competitive circuit in recent years starting with her departure to fulfill her academic pursuits. She has done well recently and is definitely working her way back to the podium.

Patricia Chavarria is very strong in the west where the race starts and is working her way back to top form. Nonetheless, joining the C-Ray team has relegated her to a supporting role to the much stronger Kaya Cattouse. Yet, similar to the recent Belmopan Classic, she still can make the podium, despite her work during the race.

Paulita Chavarria is the younger sister of Patricia and a junior rider. She lacks the strength of her more senior counterparts, but her baptism by fire is the nature of the women’s race in Belize where no junior category exist. This is a major challenge facing the federation, one which they continue to struggle with, and one which arguably deters new entrants in the field. Paulita comes from a racing family and has bravely accepted the challenge in competing under the circumstances.

Kaya Cattouse has been training extensively and is on the brink of domination. She has made the podium in this race for the last four years and won it all in 2012. Since then she has been undone by Shalini Zabaneh and Alicia Thompson. After a strong 2015 with some setbacks, this race could be a defining moment for her 2016 campaign. She is poised for a top finish.

Alicia Thompson is the defending champion and has started the year well. After the completing the Belmopan Classic, where she lost in the sprint to Cattouse, she outlined her 2016 ambitions to continue to dominate as she did in 2015. Last year she made a solo run of over 50 miles to take this race in impressive fashion. This year, however, she has a clear target on her back. Either way, Alicia is in excellent form and is also poised for a top finish.

Noticeably absent from this year’s edition is the Sagitun Cycling Team led by five time champion Shalini Zabaneh. Zabaneh has had podium finishes in the race for the last nine consecutive years, including her five wins. Earlier in the week, in a brief and rare off-race interview, Zabaneh said that she is just taking some personal time away this year. She has not made any appearance this year. She also said that her teammate Estafany Cruz in not in country right now and Dorlene Martinez is “figuring out some stuff right now“. She did, however, insist that she is training and might make an appearance in the annual lionman competition in September. “For now, I’ll just enjoy my time away“, Zabaneh closed.

The field is small but the race will definitely be interesting. The competitors leave San Ignacio, Cayo at 8:00am tomorrow morning and end and the BTL Park in Belize City some 73 miles later.

About Isaac Rhys

Isaac Rhys is the Managing Editor at cyclebiz.com. Based in the Belize, he started Cyclebiz in 2015 intent on attracting more attention to local bike races and its participants.

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