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Kaya Cattouse Wins 2015 Belmopan Classic

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Thirty yards away from the finish line Kaya Cattouse, already out the drops, looked back over her left shoulder to see what advantage she had gained on her competitors in a sprint that started just as many yards back. What she saw was Alicia Thompson second wheel unable to close before the line. Cattouse released the handle bars, tapped the C-Ray on her chest and raised both hands to take the 2015 SMART Belmopan Classic as her facial expression conveyed equal parts relief and triumph. Just over a week ago her status for the race was uncertain but she proved today why sharing the final quarter mile with her is not an enviable position.

Cattouse admitted that going up the course was relatively easy heading away from Belize City, with a tail wind in their backs, en route to La Democracia just about thirty miles out where the turning point was. There were no real attacks and the ladies made the roundabout in a tight group just as they had left. “Coming back at about mile 24 or so, that’s where the attacks started from the Sagitun Team”, said Cattouse. “To every time there was an attack I made sure I followed every one because I know that Shalini [Zabaneh] is the captain, however, if one of them were able to go down the road they would be gone and we would be in the back deciding who would be second, so I didn’t take the chance with any one. I learned my lesson from New Year’s [Krem Classic] where Alicia [Thompson] opened a gap and I said I would close it and that didn’t happen and Alicia came in solo. So everything that moves am following, I don’t care if it’s just the breeze”.

In the Krem New Year’s Day Classic, Alicia Thompson rode in alone with a minute and twenty three seconds on Cattouse who settled for second. Today, this race would end on the Northern Highway in front of SMART Belize headquarters after the riders complete one lap around the roundabouts bracketing the finish line. Cattouse admitted that her goal was to get to the first roundabout in front of the group and she did. However, coming out the turn, Shalini Zabaneh of Team Sagitun jump out from the back hoping to surprise the group but as she made her way out front, the other riders, Kaya Cattouse, Alicia Thompson (Belize Bank/Swoosh), Gabrielle Lovell (DigiCell 4G) and Estefany Cruz (Team Sagitun) were reflexively drawn out their saddles and set chase. Coming out the second round about Thompson and Lovell challenged Cattouse for the win but had to settle for second and third respectively.

Lovell conceded that she just did not have anything left to win the sprint at the end. She cites her lack of adequate time in the saddle as her downfall but pledges to return stronger in the future. Zabaneh, who missed the podium by finishing fourth, acknowledge that their plan was to launch attacks on the return leg to get away, but says the wind was a bit difficult for her new teammates so she tried to counter but admits that the competition is in great form. When asked about the final attack in the finishing lap Zabaneh said the plan was still to get away and try to come in solo because she is not as strong in the sprint as the other ladies, though she asserts she is working on it. Meanwhile, Cattouse closed the book on the 2015 SMART Belmopan Classic by saying that her medical issues are not completely behind her but she was good enough today and looks forward to better racing as she continues to improve.

The top five finishers are listed below.

  1. Kaya Cattouse (C-Ray Road Addikzx)
  2. Alicia Thompson (Belize Bank/Swoosh)
  3. Gabrielle Lovell (DigiCell 4G)
  4. Shalini Zabaneh (Team Sagitun)
  5. Estefany Cruz (Team Sagitun)

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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