By William Ysaguirre Freelance Reporter
Mexican rider, Ignacio Prado, of Benny’s Megabytes team won the elite race of the annual SMART Belmopan Cycling Classic on Sunday.
The race, organized by the Cycling Federation of Belize, and which started on the George Price Highway, finished at the SMART headquarters on the Philip Goldson Highway.
Prado rode in solo in 4:34:09 to win the $1,500 first prize, a trophy and two nights at the Inn at Robert’s Grove.
Prado and Herman “Hijo” Requeña of the SMART cycling team had broken away from the main peloton on the outbound leg at Rockville, where Requeña won a station prize and they lead all the way.
Requeña rode in second, also alone in 4:34:57 to win the $1,000 second prize and a round trip to San Pedro on Tropic Air.
Last year’s junior road champion, Oscar Quiroz Jr, has moved up to the elites and he won the $700 third prize in 4:34:58.
Prado’s teammate, “The Flying Scotsman” Robert Liam Stewart, led a chase group that had reeled in the lead duo at Rockville on the return leg. Stewart won the $350 fourth prize in 4:35:17, while Brandon Cattouse of the C-Ray Road Addiks won the $200 fifth prize in 4:36:32.
Henry Moreira won the first station prize: a coupon from Westrac at mile 3. The defending Cross country champion, Darnell Barrow of the SMART team, won the $250 station prize at mile 8.
National road champion Byron Pope took the next station prize from Westrac at Mile 10, but when Requeña made a breakaway to take the station prize at Rockville, Prado tagged along.
The lead duo shared the prizes all the way to Belmopan and back, Prado winning the next two prizes at the top of the hill at mile 24 and a $500 prize in St Matthew’s village, while Requeña won the tablet computer offered by Fultec at the Belmopan junction.
Prado took the next prize at the Belmopan Show Grounds, then Requeña won the next $500 prize from SMART on the return leg at Cotton Tree village. Prado won a bull from VIP Wireless at the top of the Mile 29 hill.
Stewart took the next two prizes at Rockville and at mile 10, but when Prado and Requeña made another breakaway as they approached the city, no one else could follow.
Prado won another $600 as he swept the last three station prizes entering the city, breaking away from Requeña at mile 3.
Prado, who is only 20, is from the State of Guanajuato, Mexico. He also won a trophy as first among the under-23 riders, with Oscar Quiroz taking second place and Giovanni Lovell of Telemedia team taking third.
Angel Tzib riding unattached, won first place in the elite 4/5 category, with Giovanni Lovell taking second, and Kenroy “Smokes” Gladden, also unattached, placing third.
Robert Stewart won the Masters 35+ category, with Scotty Weisse of the Hincapie Lampierre team from the USA, taking second, and Quinton “the Baddest” Hamilton of the SMART team ranking third.
Nehru Gilharry of the Santino’s “Ride to Glory” team won the Masters 4/5 category to take first prize: three cases of Belikin beer, while Isaiah Willacey of the DigiCell 4G team won second prize: two cases of Belikin. Wilbert Jones, riding unattached, won the third prize: a case of Belikin.