Team Barbados did not capture the overall winners’ honours but on the final day of the Caribbean Elite Cycling Championship held over the weekend Jamol Eastmond captured the silver medal in the under-23 showdown.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY at Bushy Park, St Philip yesterday after completing his race, Eastmond said he was rather pleased with his performance, especially coming off a bad injury.
“Our aim was to capture the overall title but unfortunately we had a mechanical issue. But all in all I think we came out pretty well. I was hoping to do a lot better personally but I had a bad injury like two three weeks before and it kind of set me back. But next time around . . .,” the 22-year-old said.
Joshua Kelly set the foundation for the home team to take a clean sweep when he rode a superb race on the opening day of the championship on Saturday and in the process earned a gold medal when he clocked 50:46 in a field of 20 other participating countries. National champion Russell Elcock won the bronze medal to put Barbados in a good position.
On the final day of competition yesterday the task rested on Darren Matthews to win the men’s road race and bring home the bacon and just like Kelly, stand on the podium as number one in front of local fans that included Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley, and give Barbados a 2-0 victory.
However, it was a dream simply not meant to be as Matthews found himself with some bike mechanical issues on the eighth lap of the race and that resulted in him completing the race in a heartbreaking fifth position. Marloe Rodman of Jamaica was the man who eventually won in a time of 3:12:25.27 while Luis Sablon of Guadeloupe 3:12:25.31 and Yolan Silvestre of Martinique 3:12:26.61 earned them second and third respectively.
Matthews who finished in 3:17:41.79 told local media that Rodman was their biggest threat in the nine-lap race and each member of the team knew exactly what their role was and did their jobs well but unfortunately a bit of bad luck for the 24-year-old who was leading the pack by the seventh lap spoiled that plan.
“On the eighth lap as soon as I hit the bottom of the climb when I changed my gear somehow the chain ended up behind the derailleur and the guys took advantage of that and went ahead. From the time that we had our first meeting I told them the danger guy is Marloe, regardless of how the climate is the descent and the flat part favour him, [and he is] is a powerful rider. We were suffering from lap one of the race and each lap he rode back up and he was our main target to get rid of and it just did not work out,” said the 24-year-old Matthews.
Meanwhile 27-year-old Rodman also give an account of his winning performance and explained that being so good on the flat allowed him to gain some ground coming on to the end and he was able to take the win with a steady momentum.
Barbados narrowly missed out on a medal when local girl Dominique Marshall placed fourth in 2:09:37.37 in a race that was won by Antiguan Tamiko Butler who delivered a stellar performance of 2:01:53.47 to capture her fourth gold medal at these championships. Katheryn Bertine of St Kitts and Nevis was second in 2:06:12.34 and Mathidle Batailler of Martinique 2:09:37.34 took the bronze.