With the Junior Cross Country now over, the time is drawing near for the Big One, the 85th running of the oldest and most romantic cycling event in the western hemisphere, our very own Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic.
Defending Cross Country champion is Belize’s Geovanni Choto of the Belikin-Western Spirit Cycling Team. Geovanni was the first of 78 riders who started the race last year, finishing the 142.4 mile journey to San Ignacio’s Colombus Park and back to the finish at Memorial Park in 6:16:45, more than half hour behind the record of 5:40:12 set by American Ryan Baumann in 2008. Second was Brandon Cattouse of C-Ray and third Darnell Barrow of Santino’s.
The most recent big race winners are David Henderson, Jr. of Santino’s in the 2013 Krem New Year’s Classic; and a couple weeks ago Marlon Castillo of Santino’s won the Belmopan Classic.
Everyone is picking their favorite Belizean cyclist to take the garland on Holy Saturday. Some of the names that keep coming up include those above, as well as 2006 champion Shane Vasquez, Byron Pope, Gregory Lovell, Ron Vasquez, Richard Troyer, etc.
According to a Belize Cycling Association release yesterday, a number of cycling teams have submitted the names of foreign cyclists they may wish to have participate in this Saturday’s Cross Country Classic. However, it noted that “Each team is allowed to have only 2 foreign riders” added for the race.
It’s a team sport now, and as much as Belize cycling fans keep praying for a Belizean winner, it is the norm for teams to include foreigners to improve their chances of victory, and the likelihood remains that a foreigner can still win.
Among the foreign names submitted by the various local teams, there are some familiar ones and some former Cross Country champions. Of those names submitted, only 2 can be utilized in the Cross Country by each team. Names submitted by teams are:
Benny’s Megabytes – Juan Pablo Magallanes (Mexican), Jose Ramon Guerra Infante (Mexican), Ramon Villalobos (Costa Rican), Carlos Lopez (Mexican), and Juan Carlos Rojas (Costa Rican).
Santino’s – (all Guatemalans) Luis Santizo, Alejandro Padilla, Manuel Rodas, Luis Marroquin and Alder Torres.
Veloshine – (all American) Scottie Weiss, John Delong, Christopher Harkey and Justin Crawford.
Depredadores, Team Chetumal – (all Mexican) Omar Alberto Gomez Canche, Manuel Ayala Balam, Donizetti Vasquez, Jorge Flores, Julio Dzul and David Interian.
C-Ray – (all Mexican) Florencio Ramos Torres, Luis Pulido Naranjo and Juan Antonio Aguirre Infante.
Others – Juan Manuel Yapur (Mexican).
When the cyclists line up on Holy Saturday, we will see who is with whom. And as usual, Belizeans will pray for a Belizean victory, whichever team. Have a happy and blessed Easter!