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VCG’s Belair overcomes tragedy with sweet victory

VCGMARIGOT—Velo Club de Grand Case's (VCG) Edwige Belair was a class apart after distancing the field to easily win the Senior's category in Sunday's 78K Sylvère Dulorme Memorial Race in Grand Case.

No one deserved the win more than Belair considering the personal tragedy he has had to overcome in the last few months. He was involved in a car crash in Guadeloupe two months ago in which his pregnant girl friend was killed, and he suffered injuries himself.

Clearly his dominating win was dedicated to his deceased girlfriend and child. Sunday was his second race since the accident, the first one being in Marie Galante.

Seniors, Masters, Juniors and Cadets completed six laps of a course from the gas station in La Savane to French Quarter, with two climbs in Orient Bay. Minimes did three laps.

Belair attacked from the very start of the race and although he was caught back by the pack initially no one could stay on his wheel and he carved out a huge lead, at least a minute or more by the time he was on the second of six laps, and no one could close the gap.

His finishing time in the senior category was 2:16:01; three minutes ahead of second placed team mate Dean Hodge. Anguilla's Sherwin Osbourne (2:26:31) was third, Joost Huele (2:30:02) from the new Cyclone Club took fourth, and VCG's Edward Benitez (2:36:27) came in fifth.

Behind Belair was a chase group consisting of a VCG quartet; Dean Hodge, Alban Clerc, Hasani Hennis, and Adelio Brooks. This group crossed the finish line together.

The riders suffered in the brutal heat and head winds on the RN7 by-pass. Joost Huele confessed he almost blacked out despite getting water from spectators and his thermometer was reading 38 degrees.

"I had to sit back to recover," said Joost who was at one point in a group with his team mate Wilfred Chittick and Mark Maidwell, Ronan Garnier, Otis Cotton, and Edward Benitez. "With two laps to go Wilfred (junior) blasted past the whole group on the climb. I had planned to break away the next lap but I joined him and it worked perfectly. We had a satisfying ride. It was just unfortunate that I blacked out and had to drop back otherwise I could have stayed with the main contenders."

The Masters category was won by Mo Trouble's Mark Maidwell (2:34:09) who attacked on the last climb. Otis Cotton (Mo Trouble) was second just 30 seconds adrift and Ronan Garnier (Atlantic Signs) was third. The normally strong Dick Luttekes retired after claiming he was not sufficiently trained for the race.

VCG's Alban Clerc won the Cadet category (15-16 years) in a time of 2:19:02 with VCG's Adelio Brooks second with the same time, and Anguilla's Xavi Brooks was third.

Hasani Hennis won the junior 17-18 years category (2:19:02), Romello Crawford was second and Wilfred Chittick third.

The Minimes category was won by Leynce Crossec, ASM's Kianny Noel was second, and Yanis Scellers took third place.

Some 40 riders from six clubs took part in the race organised by the VCG Club.

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