Anguillian Hasani Hennis, 1st Caribbean rider to win the Holy Saturday Cross-Country Cycling Classic, says the race was tough
Posted: Saturday, April 16, 2022. 3:44 PM CST.
By Ruben Morales Iglesias:
It doesn’t matter that he comes from a very small country (Anguilla has a population of 15,242), Hasani Hennis played big today and won the 142-mile Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic at 05 :50:26.
“Tough competition with all the Belizeans and Guatemalans, and the American. In the end, it went really well for me,” said Hennis, who rides professionally for the USA team Miami Blazers, with Barbadian Joshua Kelly not finishing the race.
Hennis sat out most of the race only a few times, but in the end he played smart against American John DeLong (05:50:28) who did most of the work all day, bided his time and attacked at the last minute to take the Cross Country.
The Anguilla runner said he ran races longer than cross-country, panicked towards the end but kept his cool. He said he stayed close to DeLong, especially after Byron Pope (05:51:43) and Marlon Castillo (05:51:48) were dropped, and in this way he managed to win the Belize’s most popular and coveted race from its first try.
Hennis said the Belizean runners are really strong, but he couldn’t help but throw a dart saying they would do well in the 135 kilometer (85 mile) races.
American John DeLong did most of the work from when he caught Shaun Codd of G-Flow and Eric Trapp of Westrac Alliance just past Hattieville around Mile 20 on the way to Cayo. He and Hennis, FAL’s Marlon Castillo and Westrac’s Byron Pope caught Codd and Trapp and were in the lead for over 120 miles in the race. A hunting party of seven men that eventually dwindled to four and finally to three, was unable to catch them.
“Hasani was fast and he looked cool all day,” DeLong said after the race, saying he misjudged the finish line despite her checking it the day before.
Regarding the Belize competition, Delong, whose best result was third in his first try in 2010, said Belizean riders need to become more scientific in training instead of just cycling every day. .
“I did my best to win the race, but those guys were on a different level,” said Marlon Castillo who finished fourth behind Pope.
Both were dropped by DeLong who attacked towards Mile 5. Only Hennis was able to keep up the pace. Castillo and Pope couldn’t respond and were left behind, despite managing to keep the three-man chase group led by defending Guatemalan champion Julio Padilla (05:54:14), which included Oscar Quiroz of 501 Valvoline (05:54:18), and Giovanni Lovell of G-Flow (05:54:36), at bay. The three managed to take less than two minutes and 26 seconds behind Castillo but remained 3:48 behind Hennis. It’s still not bad considering that at one point in the race the peloton fell more than nine minutes behind the leaders.
In the end, Padilla finished fifth, Quiroz sixth and Lovell seventh.
Joslyn Chavarria Junior (06:02:57) was eighth, Nashen Ysaguirre (06:03:08) was ninth and Richard Santiago (06:03:15) was tenth.
Hennis became the first Caribbean rider to win the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic.
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