By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Phillippe Leroy won Saturday’s BVI Cycling Federation’s National Time Trials Championships by the slimmest of margins over Antigua and Barbuda’s Rene Gayral, when he crossed the line in the 20-miles race in West End in 51.00 minutes to Gayral’s 51:01.
“I was very surprised. I was expecting to do well and have been training a lot,” Leroy noted. “The guy from Antigua, I didn’t know who he was. I caught up everybody else and couldn’t tell whether I made up time on him or not and I won by one second which was amazing. I couldn’t believe it. It was great.”
Leroy said he expected to be easily beaten by his younger rivals as he’s 43 years older than some of them. He said he’s considering turning to triathlons which has less risks of falling and can compete against people in his age group. He also thinks he can qualify for the World Championships.
On Sunday, Leroy was third overall in the 55 miles road race behind Anguilla’s Zambezi Richardson, 19 who on in 2 hours 25 minutes and Gayral, 17, 2:25.01 with his time of 2:27.38 and thought it was a great race.
“I made a mistake in the beginning when the Antigua and Anguilla guys attacked and I thought the guy from St. Vincent (Trevor Bailey Jr. and Dominica’s Bram Sanderson) were going to go after him. I wanted to save my legs and they probably thought the same thing,” Leroy explained. “We both let them go and it was too late—a tactical error. I ended up doing a lot of hard work, managed to drop them both. Even though my legs were dead, I kept going and smiling and hurting. It was a good podium finish for the BVI.”
Knowing that Bailey Jr. was the one to beat, Richardson said he and Garyal planned to make him work and if he came with them, then attack him one after the other.
“We decided to break away early because of the wind,” Richardson said. “There was a lot of wind. I’ve been training in Australia for the last 10 months, so I know what kind of form I got and I did it. I’ll be known in BVI for a long time.”
Gryal said the strategy was well planned.
“We knew we came here to win and knew what we had to do to stay on top,” he said. “The victory means a lot. I get out there more, more compliments on my race and the people to look on me and say that he’s a good cyclist and be sent to the races he need to be sent to.”
Leroy on the other hand, said he keeps motivated by thinking he’s 35.
“So why not keep it going,” he said. “I’m planning on doing a world record at 100 so why not keep fit. I just love cycling, it’s a nice sport and it’s not hard on the joints. I just like the feel of going fast downhill. I know it sounds weird but, suffering going uphill, you’re hurting a lot but, you’re going hard.”
To persons his age, he said it’s never too late to take up a sport.
“Just keep training,” he said. “I’ve broken my leg, been off for a year and a half and here I am again in top shape,” he noted. “So it’s never too late to start. Age doesn’t matter. It’s all in the head.”