The inaugural Tour of Trinidad and Tobago Independence Cycle Classic resumes today with the Compton Gonsalves Stage, which begins on the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain and ends in the southern district of Point Fortin.
And the Tour's eighth stage, covering a distance of 112 kilometres and taking riders along a route that passes through Chaguanas, Couva, Marabella, San Fernando and La Brea, before finishing at Frisco Junction in Point Fortin, is expected to be hotly contested by a bunch of rejuvenated cyclists.
After two days of inactivity due to the cancellation of Wednesday's Fitzroy Hoyte Stage in Tobago and yesterday's rest day, a number of riders will be looking to launch an attack for the overall lead.
Among them will be T&T's US-based road cyclist Emile Abraham, who currently lies in fifth position just 14.69 seconds adrift of the lead with a combined time of seven hours 41 minutes 15.55 seconds.
He will be hoping that his Rosetti Devo teammates can copy the sterling effort they produced last Friday that led to him winning the third stage around the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
Abraham also has two runner-up finishes to his credit, although his tenth place in stage five resulted in him relinquishing the overall lead.
Columbia's Edwin Vanegas, the current leader, has a combined time of 7:41:00.86, despite not having a stage win to his name. The Cycling Team Krieger rider has been able to produce the results he needed when it mattered the most and with a second, two thirds and two fifth-place finishes, he would be hoping he can cement his lead with an elusive stage victory.
Team Foundation's Raphael Merane has also been a model of consistency. After capturing last week Thursday's second stage in San Fernando, Merane has produced finishes of fourth, third and fifth in stages three, four and five, respectively, to hold second position, just two-and-a-half seconds behind Vanegas.
A podium finish in today's race may just see him claim the yellow jersey.
The Tour continues tomorrow with the Ahamad Charles Stage, a 96km ride from Point Fortin to Mayaro, and comes to an end on Sunday with the Cedric Weekes Stage, another 96km race that begins at the Indoor Sport Facility in Mayaro and finishes at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain.
Tour of T&T overall standings
(after Stage 6):
1. Edwin Vanegas (Cycling Team Krieger) – 7:41:00.86
2. Rafael Merane (Team Foundation) – 7:41:03.45
3. Jamie Ramirez (Team Foundation) – 7:41:11.43
4. Maarten de Jonge (Team CCN) – 7:41:12.78
5. Emile Abraham (Rosetti Devo) – 7:41:15.55
6. Cesar Grajales (Team Petrotrin) – 7:41:20.99
7. Richard Heathcote (Primal Europe) – 7:41:32.63
8. Darren Matthews (Team Cocos) – 7:41:34.92
9. John Ebsen (Team CCN) – 7:41:37.72
10. Marloe Rodman (Rafmon Mecalfab) – 7:41:40.23