Trinidad and Tobago's cycling Olympian Njisane Phillip brought the curtain down on the Newsday Republic Day Cycle Classic and Fun Run 2012 in grand style when he won the featured event at King George V Park in St Clair yesterday.
The race was a 30-lap event around the Park and Phillip used the opportunity to make up for not capturing the sprint event over a distance of three-quarters of a lap.
After being denied the $500 prime on the first lap by Rafmon Mecalfab's Marloe Rodman, Phillip, riding in the colours of Team Beacon, was content to sit in the peloton as the race experienced several lead changes.
First, Barry Luces would take the $200 prime on lap three as he led a group of four riders that included Jason Perryman, Troy Nelson and Warren McKay. And as the race entered the eighth lap, Luces and Perryman had opened a 28-second advantage on McKay and Nelson, with the main bunch a further 15 seconds adrift.
Luces collected another prime of $300 on the tenth lap but his exertions paved the way for Perryman to initiate a break and build a 10-second edge, while the main bunch reeled in Nelson and McKay.
Gene "Geronimo" Samuel got into the thick of things when he led the main bunch in a chase of the front two and collected the $300 on offer for the first cyclist to catch Perryman. As the race progressed, Phillip could be seen looking around him as he gradually inched his way closer to the front, while Colin Wilson, Joshua Alexander and Jovian Gomez all initiated attacks as they went after primes.
Five laps from the finish, order was restored, with all the riders together as one group but this did not last long, as Stephen Mangroo led a charge to collect the final prime of $500, three laps out, while attempting to control the race by leading a Team Trek 1-2-3 with Wilson and McKay.
At the bell, the Team Trek trio were still at the head of affairs but Marc Codrington and Luces quickly went by them with Phillip, Joshua Alexander and Linford Blackwood giving chase down the final backstretch. And Phillip would time his challenge to perfection as he powered past Codrington and Luces to hit the line ahead of Blackwood and Alexander, to a loud roar of applause from an appreciative crowd.
Earlier on the card, Rodman captured the three-quarter lap sprint event after McKay made a bold attempt to go pillar to post.
Rodman would burst through in the dying stage to get home from Blackwood, Haseem McLean and Wilson.
And in the 5k fun run, Matthew Hagley copped first prize in the open category when he came home in a time of 15 minutes, 30 seconds. Guyana's Kelvin Johnson was second home in 15:35 with Denzil Ramirez of National Security, third in 15:39.
The women's version was won by Jenelle Nedd. The One a Week Road Runners Club member completed the trip in18 minutes, 49 seconds, coming home well ahead of Memphis' Dawnell Collymore (20:10) and Juliet John-Sambrano of the Trinidad and Tobago Road Runners Club, who returned a time of 21:22.
Results: Elite 30-lap: 1. Njisane Phillip (Team Beacon), 2. Linford Blackwood (Team Trek), 3. Joshua Alexander (Team Foundation)
¾ lap Sprint: 1. Marloe Rodman (Rafmon Mecalfab), 2. Linford Blackwood (Team Trek), 3. Haseem McLean (Unattached)
5K Open: Men: 1. Matthew Hagley (15:30), 2. Kelvin Johnson (15:35), 3. Denzil Ramirez (15:39)
Women: 1. Jenelle Nedd (18:49), 2. Dawnell Collymore (20:10), 3. Juliet John-Sambrano (21:22)