By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
After narrowly finishing second by a point to Mark Stephenson on Chris Haycraft’s Ting A Ling during Saturday’s Governor’s Cup on Barney Cook’s Airgasm, Sam Talbot was looking forward to racing Phillippe Leroy in Sunday’s BVI Mountain Bike Club’s Nanny Cay to Belmont and return race. Leroy missed the season opener on Beef Island, which Talbot easily won.
Both riders with a developing rivalry, knew what was at stake and played a little cat and mouse. However, in Belmont, there was some confusion on how riders interpreted the course, which became part of a postrace debate.
“It was good fun, actually a little wet,” Talbot told Island Sun Sports. “The down hills in the back section (of Belmont) and it was a pretty solid pace set by everyone down and back up. I’m shattered.”
Talbot said finally facing Leroy was good fun and they rode the return upwind leg together. “He was tough to keep up with, I’ll say that,” Talbot said. “Especially on some big nobly tires, but it was a lot of fun. On the way back, we had a discussion on who did what course and he let me go ahead because there was a committee on which course, so we came to an agreement and I emptied my tank, so he could have passed me if he wanted to.”
Leroy who has dominated BVI cycling over the last 25 years, said it was time that someone came along to replace him.
“It’s going to take the pressure off me, which would be nice,” he noted, saying that the course was great. “There was a bit of confusion on which way to go inside Belmont. I went up the hill and saw someone in front of me and I thought it was Sam, and I was like ‘ooh, I’m catching him up—it was someone who took a shortcut by mistake and then Sam caught me on the flat,” Leroy recalled following the race. “I was like, ‘ooh, that’s weird’ because he’s to be in font. We rode together all the way to the end and he won just at the finish, that was great.”
While Talbot is a great sailor, Leroy said he thinks Talbot is more of a cyclist, as he’s very strong.
“I did a couple of time trial road races with him and he really beat me well,” Leroy noted. “I was amazed by the time he beat me by. A very, very strong guy.”
Leroy said he’s surprised by Talbot’s power, speed and he has already beaten three of his King of the Mountains, while he can’t beat his previous times nowadays. “He’s a big guy and I’m smaller so normally on those hills,” Leroy said. “I’m supposed to keep my King of the Mountain, but because he’s bigger, he’s got more power, but he’s strong.”
Final results: 1. Sam Talbot, 53 minutes and 40 seconds. 2. Phillipe Leroy, 53:41. 3. Mark Stephenson, 57:42. 4. Biff Smitt, 57:51. 5. Andrew “Tubes” Thompson, 1:03.32. 6. Tom Thornley, 1:03.54. 7. Alastair Abrehart, 1:13.23. 8. Jim Cullimore, 1:39.06.