American John Delong attacked the front-runner duo of his teammate Clayton Travis and Nissan Arana at the Burrell Boom junction and came in solo to claim the 2019 Krem New Year’s Day Classic. There won’t be a great grinding and gnashing of teeth by Belizean fans since Delong has been a fixture in races here, I think for over a decade, and the chances are most of us consider him an “honorary Belizean” anyway.
His Skyline teammate Clayton Travis out dueled Nissan Arana at the finish and in the media interview afterward declared he will be back. It will be interesting, to say the least, if he is back to team up with Delong in the Run for the Roses.
Although only 22, a cursory glance at Clayton Travis’ biography on the internet shows that he is an experienced racer with more than 50 relatively high-level races the past 3-4 years under his belt, and he has won or placed in the top ten in several.
John DeLong who finished second in 2018, said in his post-race interview that he prepared for this race and it showed. I think because the race follows the Christmas and New Year festivities it is difficult for Belizean racers to dedicate themselves to the discipline that proper preparation requires.
Last year Giovanni Lovell outsprinted John to the finish, obviously this year he had prepared not to have that happen. I wonder at the gap in years between the teammates DeLong, 39, and Clayton Travis, 22 …
Nissan Arana said he did not want to push himself “too much” for station prizes and tried to remain focused on winning the race. Nissan is from Orange Walk and this is very much “his” race, the one he would want most to win. His was a yeoman effort but he needs more support.
The race featured nine (9) thousand dollar ($1,000) station prizes which Mose Hyde said had been dubbed “Grannies” by the riders. I am being told next year’s 30th edition of the race will have at least 10.
The female race became, anti-climatic, the moment we learned that four-time defending champion Alicia Thompson had decided not to ride. Alicia cited her lack of proper preparation due to her work commitments at the bank where she is employed. She had won this race five times, four years in a row, and I was hoping she would go for a historic fifth in a row, a feat no racer male or female has ever achieved in any “classic” in Belize. Respect to her for her decision. She knows herself, her competition and cycle racing in Belize.
She’s twice took time off, once for the birth of her son, and returned to successfully compete and win. Her absence and a small field (4), threw the door wide open for her rival Kaya C. Cattouse to claim her second Krem Classic crown.
Kaya has won every female classic race in Belize, some twice, the Cross Country (2012, 2016), Valentine’s, Belmopan, National Road Championship (2016/17), National Time Trials, Digi (2016/17), Ham & Turkey Classic, September Criterium, Pablo Marin Classic 2012/13/14/15). She now adds 2 Krem Classic championships (2012, 2019) to that outstanding record of accomplishment and achievement.