Svensson takes Tobago Classic Stage Two
Johan Svensson gave himself a birthday gift by taking the second stage of the division one race at the annual Tobago International Classic, in Courland, yesterday.
The Swede completed the 90-kilometre three-lap circuit in a nail-biting finish, getting to the line fractionally ahead of German Daniel Bichlmann (Team Merida Dohauegchinger) and Colombia’s Jaime Ramirez (Team Coco).
Svensson clocked two hours, 22:07.284.
Svensson, who celebrates his 34th birthday today, made his move in the final lap to take the victory.
Speaking after the race, he said he was surprised by the triumph.
“I suffered in the heat (on Tuesday) as I only arrived the day before. Today I felt a lot better.”
Jonas Schmeiser ended stage two in fourth spot, but a runner-up finish in the first stage in Shirvan on Tuesday was enough for the Germany/Team NSP cyclist to claim the overall leader’s position and the yellow shirt. Schmeiser also captured the Sprint Preme award for the second straight stage with 34 points.
Yesterday’s race was originally scheduled to be a four-lap 120km event, but the organisers opted to go for three laps, which took riders through Black Rock, Mt. Irvine, the hills of Les Coteaux, Plymouth and back to Courland.
Early morning rains made the riding conditions much cooler than the hot atmosphere in Stage One. However, the wet and slippery roads made navigating the sharp corners on the course difficult.
Michael Schweizer (Germany/Team NSP) led the field after the first lap, followed by his teammate, Cuban Vincente Sanabria and Matthew Cronshaw of Great Britain. Bichlmann was ahead at the end of the second lap, with Schmeiser lurking in second and Timo Niesing in third. Niesing held on for fifth, ahead of stage one winner Bello.
Former champion Emile Abraham was hoping to make up for not finishing Stage One, but fell before the start and suffered multiple bruises. The hometown rider still opted to compete, but a flat tyre ended his chances.
The top local finisher was Gevan Samuel (Team Trek), who was 23rd (2:34.17.098).
Abraham is aiming to recover in time for Stage Three, the Plymouth Criterium, which gets underway at 1.30 tomorrow afternoon, on Shelbourne Street in Plymouth. And at eight a.m., tomorrow, the first ever Mountain Bike Classic pedals off at Arnos Vale. The race will take riders through Tobago’s Rain Forest.
Division One (Three laps-90km)
1st-Johan Svensson (Sweden/Team J.Jenson-Ramirent) 2:22.07.284
2nd-Daniel Bichlmann (Germany/Merida Dohauegehinger) 2:22.07.444
3rd-Jaine Ramirez (Columbia/Coco) 2:22:07.759
4th-Jonas Schmeiser (Germany/NSP) 2:22.39.425
5th-Timo Niesing (Germany/NSP) 2:24.47.578
6th-Clixto Bello (USA/Coco) 2:25.34.019
7th-Raphael Meran (Dominican Republic/Foundation) 2:25.34.039
8th-Sybrandy Wouter (Netherlands/IG Sigma Sport) 2:25.34.15
9th-Ty Tuttler (USA-Vita Malt) 2:25.34.215
10th-Trevor Connor (Canada/Rio Grande) 2:26.42.683
23rd-Gevan Samuel (T&T/Trek) 2:34.17.098
Division Two (Two laps-60km)
1st-Timo Scholz (Germany/Unattached) 1:45.00.692
2nd-Raphael Loidolt (Austria/Sli)