There were a few prominent names to watch among the field of 20 Junior cyclists that started out from the Succotz Ferry yesterday morning at 9:00 in the 15th Annual Junior Cross Country Classic; but Keion Robateau was not one of those names. Some of the recent big names among Juniors had already moved on to the U-23 category, namely Giovanni Lovell, Joel Borland, Austin Armstrong, Jr., Deezan Spence, and Oscar Quiroz, Jr. (Youth riders are 14 -16 yrs, and Juniors are 16-18 yrs; after their 18th birthday, they move up to U-23.) So that, among recent champions of major Junior cycling events were defending Junior Cross Country Champion Zamir Guerra; top Junior finisher in the recent Belmopan Cycling Classic, Tarique Flowers, who also won this year’s Krem Classic for the Juniors; and Delon Gentle, who has been a consistent contender, being the 4th Junior in the last Krem Classic, the Junior champion in the Valentine Classic, and the 2nd Junior in the Belmopan Classic. But, from the records we have been able to peruse, Keion Robateau had, up until yesterday, still not broken into the top-3 group of Junior finishers in any of the major races. His best finish was 5th Junior in this year’s Belmopan Classic.
There may be a trend here. In the Elite category of the last Valentine Classic, one Angel Tzib, riding unattached, surprised all the big names by riding away in the last few miles, after maintaining a low profile all race long. And in the recent Belmopan Classic, reports were that the young Mexican rider, Ignacio Prado was looking a bit shaky, inducing established Belizean pacer Herman “Hijo” Requena to try and “shake him off” with frequent bursts. But each time, the Mexican hung on. And when the time was right, after Hijo had spent himself, the Mexican just moved away, and nobody could catch him.
Well, in yesterday’s Junior Cross Country, that recent pattern continued. All eyes were on Tarique and Zamir, and even Delon Gentle, as the likely winner in a finishing sprint. But after many brief attacks by prominent members of the lead group, his BECOL teammate Keion Robateau surprised them all, moving away in the last few miles, and crossing the finish line all alone, a cool 4 and a half minutes ahead of the chase group.
The record set last year by Zamir Guerra stands at 3:34:38, which was also shared by Michael Wagner, Jr. and Tarique Flowers.
Yesterday’s finishing time was 3:41:27. Of the 20 cyclists that started the 70 mile journey, 14 completed the race. They were: champion Keion Robateau (BECOL Uprising, 3:41:27); 2nd place Delon Gentle (BECOL Uprising, 3:46:00); 3rd Zamir Guerra (Cayo High Road, same time); 4th Phillip Mencias (Mando’s Cycling, st); 5th Tarique Flowers (Benny’s Megabytes, st); 6th Delawn Abraham (Benny’s Megabytes, st); 7th Zahir Figueroa (BECOL Uprising, st); 8th Devin Azueta (Cayo High Road, 4:03:41); 9th Darien Anderson (Unattached, 4:06:22); 10th Dennis Arnold (Unattached, 4:07:33); 11th Michael Grajalez (Mando’s Cycling, 4:07:33); 12th Patrick Williams (Unattached, 4:07:56); 13th Stephen Cabral (Unattaced, 4:08:20); and 14th Kyle Saunders (Unattached, 4:18:44).
In terms of their Youth category, the 1st Youth was Devin Azueta (Cayo High Road); 2nd Darien Anderson (Unattached); and 3rd Dennis Arnold (Unattached); 4th Michael Grajalez (Mando’s Cycling); and 5th Patrick Williams (Unattached).