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Padilla Brothers 1-2 in 2016 Cross Country

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Alejandro Padilla Miranda (Guatemalan National Selection), with the help of his brother Julio, won the 88th Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic just before midday today in Belize City. The Guatemalan achieved what previously eluded him in 2014 when he was second to Mexican Juan Pablo Magallanes. The brothers combined for a well-timed late attack to shed Joel Borland (DigiCell 4G) who had been off the front all day in several configurations of the breakaway. The final arrangement saw Borland versus Julio and Alejandro heading to Belize City less than 15 miles out. Just outside of Hattieville, Julio attacked while Alejandro shadowed Borland as he tried to get back onto his brother’s wheel. Borland was unable to reel Julio in. Alejandro then attacked to join his brother and push Borland down the steps, as he would apparently have to settle for third. This was the culmination of a strategic plan started by the Guats earlier in the day.

First we needed to make the break, so we established the break and in Cayo I saw him [Alejandro] coming. So I wait for him and since then we just tried to pace a little bit, trying to create a bigger gap until we get to Hattieville to try to make the move and it worked perfectly”. Those were the words of Julio Padilla Miranda summing up for reporters after the race, how the win came to pass. Heading to the halfway point at San Ignacio Town in the Cayo District, Julio, Borland and Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray Road Addikzx) were in a long running break. Julio was referring to passing the chasers, including his brother, Bill Elliston (USA, Unattached) and Nissan Arana (Westrac Alliance) in the opposite direction. That trio would later join the leaders to form a six man break.

Admiral John Borland, DigiCell 4G’s director, said it didn’t play out as he expected because he would have preferred the break to remain in that six man configuration down the stretch, with three Belizeans and three foreigners. He thought that would make for better odds coming into Belize City. The Admiral admitted, “The odds were against us. Not that I didn’t trust Joel (Borland). If I had to trust anybody, I would trust him to be in that position. They [the Padillas] race a lot more than we do at higher intensities among greater competition. I’m not making excuses because we are not that far behind. We will get there. We will come back stronger next year. So we’ll go back to the drawing board and the highways and get stronger”.

Speaking with reporters after the race, the winning Padilla Miranda sounded sympathetic to Borland’s effort. “He’s riding very good. He was just unfortunate that it was 2 of us against 1. In 2014, the same thing happened to me. It was Mexicans and me, and the Mexicans beat me in the finish line. That’s how racing is. You need teammates out there. If you’re outnumbered, especially with the way the wind was coming in today; pretty hard to go 2 against 1”.

How it unfolded
After the New Year’s Day Race, in which defending Cross Country Champ Justin Williams rode unattached and finished 4th, it was clear that the local peloton would not be caught off-guard by him. While he had wish to have a stronger team for the race, he had to settle for his brother Corey. They make for a formidable pair, but a marked pair. The second place finisher from 2015 Scottie Weiss and his team, Startlight, were hit by a motorist on Thursday morning. They decided to go late purely on heart. The local peloton was primed for battle this year, but given the above circumstances, one look at the start list by the Padilla Miranda brothers had to increase their confidence.

The first attack of the day came early in the form of a 3-man after the first 10 miles or so. Justin Williams, Alejandro Padilla-Miranda and Richard Santiago (DigiCell 4G) got things started. Last year Justin and Corey were in the initial breakaway that would eventually hold off the field and decided the race. This break was caught after mile 36 and shortly after a new break emerged before mile 40. Joel Borland, Brandon Cattouse, Julio Padilla Miranda were able to open a 20-sec gap at mile 40. This would prove to be the critical move of the day. Going beyond Belmopan City would start a series of inclines heading to the halfway point. Padilla is expected to be a good climber and Borland had the potential to match him. The question mark was the bigger Cattouse who is more adept at sprinting. Nonetheless, if these escapees could increase the time going in that direction, they could benefit from estimating the pull of the peloton passing them on the way back.

Padilla increased the pace up the inclines as if to test his competition as his brother did in the first break. Borlan seemed up to the task but Cattouse seemed to struggle. Cattouse said, “I wasn’t suffering much, I just rode easy up the climbs not punish myself too much. I went to Cayo smoothly and when I got back to Roaring Creek I started to suffer a bit. I was cramping, but I recovered and by the time we reached Cotton Tree I was feeling ok”. The leaders kept the lead hovering between a 60 to 90 seconds as Cattouse would survive the climbs heading to the halfway point. Several small attempts were reportedly made to come across to no avail. Eventually, the elder Padilla, Bill Elliston and Nissan Arana would set chase and merge with the leaders with about 65 miles to go. The new configuration featured the dangerous combination of Guatemalans, but the local boys were, arguably, the best of the field.

At this point, Benny’s Megabytes, Western Spirit, Team Starlight, Team SMART and LINK UP, featuring the Williams brothers all lacked representation up front. With six strong riders up the road, panic had to be setting in. Around Unitedville, a group including Justin and Corey Williams, Giovanni Lovell, Scottie Weiss and representatives from Western Spirit and Team Cancun tried to close the gap but were unsuccessful. About 30 miles out the lead had reportedly ballooned to over five minutes and the podium would be decided by the lead six.

The Padillas had other designs and attacked shortly after and shook off Nissan Arana, Bill Elliston and Brandon Cattouse. Arana confessed after the race that he was pretty much in the red when that attack happened and couldn’t respond. Arana and his group would fall off close to two minutes within the next 10 miles. The Guatemalans would eventually attack Borland, as previously mentioned, to stroll across the finish line 5:51:09 seconds.

In the End
In the final analysis the Padilla Miranda brothers executed to perfection. DigiCell 4G had been executing well this year, but was unable to get numbers in the break. Giovanni Lovell, perhaps the most likely candidate to come across to Borland, failed to do so. Lovell admitted to missing the break that eventually merged with the leaders, including his teammate Borland. He believed that the likes of Starlight and defending Champion Justin Williams and his brother would join in the push at that time. Unsure of those efforts he tried to go alone before the halfway point only to fall short. Borland continues a strong 2016 campaign effectively moved up to the front of the class with a gutsy performance today.

Also deserving of extra kudos is Brandon Cattouse. In our look at the start list, we highlighted C-Ray’s shorthanded year, as an excellent opportunity for Cattouse to quiet the noise about his apparent laid back tendencies. For him to do well in this race, he would have to take the lead, and that he did. He labored across the inclines in the hopes of making it to the city at the front. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Cattouse accepted the shortfall. “I thought that break would last to City, but the Padilla brothers saw that they were much stronger than us so they started to attack us at mile 26. They did the last attack up the climb and only Borland could have stayed with them. Me, Nissan and Bill got dropped. We rotated and tried to hold off the back crowd but Scottie Weiss, Liam and someone else came and caught us. When they caught us we came together and I thought I would just stay with them and try to win the sprint because at that time I was out for 4th place anyway”. Though Nissan Arana fell out of the top five, Westrac Alliance proved to be worthy contenders. They may have fell short of podium but should gain much deserved respect.

Benny’s Megabytes and Team SMART are, perhaps, the most disappointed of the teams. SMART had Henry Moreira in the top 10, but they surely had higher hopes. Benny’s was unable to crack the top 15. Missing out early really hurt both teams down the stretch. The finals standings echo the fact that this is strong man race, requiring power and experience, a point that Bill Elliston made in an earlier interview. Ten of the top 20 finishers are masters riders. Finally, the finish line gallery showed their appreciation for Team Starlight who could have opted not to start today, and understandably so. Weiss finished in the sixth spot, David Flynn 16th and two time champ Chris Harkey waved the crowd as he crossed the line 26th. Delong came in the service transport, reportedly nursing a sore hand, but the finish by his mates salvaged a trip one would never want to relive.

Below is the Final List.

P RIDER (Nationality) TEAM RESULT
1 PADILLA-MIRANDA Alejandro (GUA) Guatemalan National Team 5:51:09
2 PADILLA-MIRANDA Julio (GUA) Guatemalan National Team 0:00:00
3 BORLAND Joel (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team 0:01:58
4 CATTOUSE Brandon (BIZ) C-RAY Road Addikz 0:08:08
5 ELLISTON William (USA) Unattached 0:08:08
6 WEISS Scottie (USA) Team Starlight 0:08:08
7 ARANA Nissan (BIZ) Westrac Alliance 0:08:08
8 STEWART Robert Liam (BIZ) Western Spirit Cycling Team 0:08:08
9 MORIERA Henry (BIZ) Team SMART 0:08:08
10 VASQUEZ Ron (BIZ) Western Spirit Cycling Team 0:08:08
11 TZIB Angel (BIZ) BECOL Uprising Cycling Team 0:14:29
12 MORGAN Brandon (BIZ) Westrac Alliance 0:14:29
13 HAMILTON Quinton (BIZ) Unattached 0:14:36
14 LOVELL Giovanni (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team 0:14:39
15 QUIROZ Oscar Jr (BIZ) Western Spirit Cycling Team 0:15:22
16 FLYNN David (USA) Team Starlight 0:15:22
17 LESLIE Phillip (BIZ) Benny's Megabytes Elite 0:15:51
18 MARIANO Robert (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team 0:15:51
19 GLADDEN Kenroy (BIZ) Unattached 0:16:18
20 CHOTO Jose (BIZ) C-RAY Road Addikz 0:16:18
21 FLOWERS Tarique (BIZ) Benny's Megabytes Elite 0:16:18
22 PRIEGO Jose Anastacio (MEX) Team Cancun 0:16:18
23 LOPEZ Dwight (BIZ) Unattached 0:16:18
24 COLEMAN Elston (BIZ) Westrac Alliance 0:16:18
25 JIMENEZ GODINEZ Yair (MEX) Team Cancun 0:16:18
26 HARKEY Chris (USA) Team Starlight 0:16:38
27 SAM-POZ Giovanni Macario (GUA) Guatemalan National Team 0:16:38
28 STAINE Mark (BIZ) Team SMART 0:16:38
29 PINELO Kaydine (BIZ) Team SMART 0:19:24
30 JOSEPH Fitzgerald (BIZ) LAMPAZ Cycling Team 0:19:30
31 VASQUEZ Shane (BIZ) Western Spirit Cycling Team 0:19:37
32 VELASQUEZ Edgar (MEX) Team Yapurland 0:19:37
33 HENDERSON David (BIZ) Benny's Megabytes Elite 0:21:43
34 GRAY Kendrick (BIZ) Chavarria Cycling Club 0:23:38
35 GABOUREL Kent (BIZ) KULTURE 0:25:37
36 McKENZIE Ron (BIZ) Westrac Alliance 0:25:41
37 AVILA BALAM Luis Jose (MEX) Team Yapurland 0:26:41
38 CABRAL Stephen Jr (BIZ) Cabral/Marin Cycling Team 0:26:43
39 FIGUEROA Zahir (BIZ) BECOL Uprising Cycling Team 0:32:33
40 WILLACEY Isaiah (BIZ) Bel-Cal Cycling Club 0:41:15
OTL TAYLOR Anthony (USA) Unattached 0:52:28
OTL BELLINI Deryn (BIZ) Westrac Alliance 0:52:28
OTL CASASOLA Leroy (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team 0:52:28
OTL LOVELL George Sr (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team 0:52:28
OTL MONZINGO Jeffrey (USA) Unattached 0:52:28
OTL ROJAS Elston (BIZ) Chavarria Cycling Club 0:52:28
OTL GOMEZ Omar (MEX) Team Cancun -
DNF ABRAHAM Delawn (BIZ) Westrac Alliance -
DNF ABRAHAM George Sr (BIZ) Unattached -
DNF ANDERSON Darien (BIZ) Benny's Megabytes Elite -
DNF AYALA BALAM Manuel (MEX) Team Cancun -
DNF BARROW Darnell (BIZ) Team SMART -
DNF BILAL Amir (BIZ) Unattached -
DNF BLACK Shannon (BIZ) BECOL Uprising Cycling Team -
DNF BUTLER Orson (BIZ) Unattached -
DNF BUTLER Philton (BIZ) Team SMART -
DNF CANO Tariq (BIZ) Team SMART -
DNF CHOTO Peter (BIZ) C-RAY Road Addikz -
DNF CHOTO Rafael (BIZ) C-RAY Road Addikz -
DNF DELONG John (USA) Team Starlight -
DNF FERGUSON Frank (BIZ) Unattached -
DNF FLOWERS Kareem (BIZ) LINK UP Cycling Team -
DNF GARCIA Armando (BIZ) LINK UP Cycling Team -
DNF GENTLE Delon (BIZ) BECOL Uprising Cycling Team -
DNF GILLETT Melvin (BIZ) Team SMART -
DNF JONES Shane (BIZ) Westrac Alliance -
DNF JUAN Joseph (BIZ) Chavarria Cycling Club -
DNF LEWIS Anthony Jr (BIZ) Westrac Alliance -
DNF MAHEIA Colin (BIZ) Unattached -
DNF MAHLER Dereck (BIZ) Unattached -
DNF MARTINEZ JIMENEZ Salvador (MEX) Team Cancun -
DNF MIDDLETON Erwin (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team -
DNF REQUENA Herman (BIZ) Team SMART -
DNF ROBATEAU Keion (BIZ) Westrac Alliance -
DNF SANTIAGO Richard (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team -
DNF SOLIS Andres Jesus (MEX) Team Yapurland -
DNF SWASEY Kevin (BIZ) C-RAY Road Addikz -
DNF VANEGAS Joel (BIZ) DigiCell 4G Cycling Team -
DNF VASQUEZ Anfernee (BIZ) Chavarria Cycling Club -
DNF VERA Richard (BIZ) Team SMART -
DNF WILLIAMS Corey (BIZ) LINK UP Cycling Team -
DNF WILLIAMS Justin (BIZ) LINK UP Cycling Team -
DQ BRADLEY Ernest (BIZ) Team SMART -
DQ GUERRA Jesmar (BIZ) Benny's Megabytes Elite -

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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