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Lawson retains Bikeathon crown
Paul A. Reid, Staff Reporter
RAYDEAN LAWSON of the Westmoreland Cycling Club survived a fall and a stiff challenge from Oneil Samuels to retain his title in the Pro-Am section of the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East Bikeathon 2005 on Sunday.
Lawson topped the small field to win the 85-kilometre race, which started and ended at the Fairview Shopping Complex and went as far as Lucea and included a steep climb just outside of Hopewell, in 1:47.04 seconds.
Samuels, who won the 'King of the Hill' section, was second in 1:47.05 seconds followed by Martin Dean (1:48.12) and Richard Smith (1:48.15).
The 10th staging of the event saw several age group sections from Under 10 for the children to Masters (50 years and over) and was held to help raise funds to provide scholarships to needy children.
An eight-lap Criterium had to be cancelled after heavy afternoon rain pelted the area, forcing a long delay before the awards ceremony started.
Denise Casserly was the only female rider to complete the Pro-Am course, finishing 34th overall.
Lawson admitted afterwards that Samuels' presence meant the race would be hard but thanked God he was able to defend his title.
"I had some problems as I fell but was able to get back up and was able to finish first," Lawson said after the race and explained the crash that took place just outside of Lucea on the way back.
"We were changing positions, Samuels got up off the saddle and I tried to get behind and we rubbed wheels and fell," he said.
He added however that Samuels showed some sportsmanship by slowing down and waiting for him to catch up.
"I was able to get back up quickly and did not lose much time," he said.
Samuels, who had just returned to the island after a training stint overseas, said the windy conditions on the way back from Lucea made it hard for the riders and said he was hoping to make his move in the mountains.
He also said he had planned to make a break at the midway point, taking one or two riders with him and take it from there. However, only Lawson was able to go with him as his teammates were unable to match the pace and he was forced to do all the work by himself.
Mario Hall, who ended up eighth, set a cracking early pace opening up a lead of over 150m at one stage but he was eventually caught by the pack that rode together all the way to Elgin Town in Hanover before Lawson and Samuels made their break.
The two rode together for the rest of the race, stretching their lead to more than 200m at one stage.