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Sunday, September 10, 2023
BBA Season Opener Takes Place in Hamilton

The Bermuda Bicycle Association resumed racing after the summer break with the Winners Edge Criterium races staged in the center of Hamilton which would also feature for the first time an ‘Urban Mountain Bike’ event, set up by race director Chris Roque.

The top category A and B events drew a lot of attention with overseas-based riders, and current criterium champion, Conor White, back from his busy race schedule in the US, and Liam Flannery who is based in the UK both on the start line. However, with 2021 criterium champion Nicholas Pilgrim, and former multi-national champion Dominique Mayho also racing, it was sure to be an exciting race. And so, it proved to be, in the 40-minute race which would see all the races start at the flagpole on Front Street, travel west and around the back of Albouys Point, back onto Front Street, left on Queen Street, right onto Reid Street, right onto Parliament Street then back onto Front Street to complete the circuit.

Very quickly with the explosive pace, the race favorites, which included, Alexander Miller and junior rider Cameron Morris separated themselves from the rest of the field with Flannery in particular attacking off the front to break up the lead group even more. Pilgrim, also being keen to keep the pace high, tried to get off the front, and on a couple of occasions, he and Flannery looked like they were going to break away together. But White was having none of it and pulled the field back to the leaders. This pattern continued, with Mayho always in the right position and Miller and Morris both managing to stay in contact. In the closing laps it looked like it would come down to a bunch sprint between this group until on the final climb of Reid Street, Pilgrim made an attack that would see him open up a small gap which he held onto for the finish, taking a deserved victory with White managing to just hold off Mayho for second and third respectively after a highly entertaining race. Morris, Flannery and Miller would finish in that order from the breakaway group.

The earlier held women’s race would see a clear favorite with top rider Caitlin Conyers back on the island after spending most of the year racing and training overseas including the Glasgow World Championships last month. With a small group including Conyers, fast-improving Panzy Olander, who placed second behind Conyers in the National Criterium Championships in July, and top juniors Annabel Miller and Charlotte Millington quickly off the front, it soon became apparent that Conyers, who would incidentally race in the A-B race finishing 10th overall, was taking on a team role, as she appeared to be guiding Winners Edge team-mate Miller, to a possible victory. With Millington eventually being gapped by the lead group, Olander who was looking very strong, rode a very controlled race having to mark both the Winners Edge riders. Eventually, it came down to the three riders contesting the win on Front Street, and Conyers as expected took the victory with Olander and Miller second and third respectively.

For the first time, an Urban Mountain bike event was introduced by Race Director Chris Roque, which proved both popular and entertaining with riders in an Open and Junior event. On the short loop on Front Street, which saw the riders go into the waterfront carpark and negotiate a number of obstacles made up of packing crates and jumps even Conor White, Cameron Morris, Kavin Smith, and Gordon Smith who had just finished racing, were tempted to ride, taking to top four places.
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