Colombia's Edwin Avila Vanegas, winner of the Tour of Trinidad and Tobago, had nothing but praise for the race organisers after he walked away with the yellow jersey and the top prize of $33,000, on Sunday.
Speaking with the assistance of an interpreter following the prize giving ceremony at the Eric Williams Financial Complex in Port of Spain, the Cycling Team Krieger rider told the Express he was ecstatic to be the winner of the inaugural race.
"I want to thank the organisers for putting together the race, for the great work they did over the past few days and for extending an invitation for us to participate in the event. I really enjoyed myself and would love another opportunity to ride in Trinidad."
Vanegas was such a model of consistency that despite not having won any of the eight stages contested, he still recorded the best combined time of 12 hours, 38 minutes, 21.62 seconds.
After finishing 13th in the opening George Terry Stage, he went on to register two seconds, two thirds, two fifths and another 13th in the next seven stages.
Team Foundation's Raphael Merane (Dominican Republic), who copped the green jersey as the Tour's best sprinter and was two-and-a-half seconds adrift of Vanegas, pocketed the second prize of $15,000, while Jaime Ramirez (Colombia) of Team Petrotrin collected $10,000 for his third-place effort.
The polka dot jersey for the "King of the Mountain" went to seventh-place finisher Euris Vidal (Dominican Republic) of Team Foundation, while Team Cocos' Barbadian cyclist Darren Matthews complemented his sixth spot with the white jersey for the best under-23 rider.
Gevan Samuel, son of the iconic Gene "Geronimo" Samuel, was rewarded with the red, white and black jersey for being the best T&T rider. He also collected a Bike Inn-sponsored Fuji road bike for his efforts.
At the prize giving ceremony, promoter and race chairman, Anthony Commissiong voiced his appreciation for the roles played by the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation, REACT Trinidad and Tobago, and all other stakeholders who contributed to the successful staging of the event.
Selected Tour results
1. Edwin Vanegas (Cycling Team Krieger) - $33,000 & yellow jersey
2. Raphael Merane (Team Foundation) - $15,000 & sprinter's green jersey
3. Jaime Ramirez (Team Petrotrin) - $10,000
King of the Mountain (polka dot jersey) – Euris Vidal
Best under-23 (white jersey) – Darren Matthews
Leading T&T cyclist (Fuji bike & red, white and black jersey) – Gevan Samuel
Top Caribbean rider – Raphael Merane
Most Outstanding Teams
1. Primal Europe (Great Britain)
2. Team Foundation (USA/T&T)