East side roads lived cycling excitement
Gibraltar’s east side roads lived some exciting moment this Thursday afternoon as both the women and men’s Island games cyclist took to the road once again.
Road diversions might have closed down the roads from Eastern beach through to the Mosque as from one in the afternoon, an hour before the start of the women’s race. There was, however, few complaints from locals, who although affected by the road closure, took it in the spirit of the Games. There were to be, however, little support on the road, for the women’’ racers at least. An overcast, although hot day, along with the road closures kept many beach users away from the area. Catalan Bay probably seeing the least number of people on the beach since the start of summer.
As from one in the afternoon volunteers and organizer teams converged upon the Catalan Bay area to set up for the women’s role. This was to be a gruelling seven laps from Catalan Bay through Beach views and then turning to head south to the Mosque at Europa point.
Across key functions the organisers had positioned race Marshalls and course assistants. The Catalan Bay car became a warm-up preparation area whilst the residential carpark became the medical attendance area.
Barriers were also set up across key areas where the public was expected to stop to
watch. Nicola Valarino was however to keep Gibraltar’s hopes of a good finish alive.
From the start two packs of riders were formed. The first pack eventually producing the medallist. The second one had Nicola Valarino amongst them. She held her position within the pack throughout showing some incredible determination against what some very experienced riders were. Nicola had the many locals around, including those assisting cheering her on as she entered the final lap.
The race was to be won by Florence Cox from Jersey with the silver taken by
Ellen Barker, Jersey also finishing with the bronze with Rebecca Lacey. Nicola Valorino finished fourteenth with Charlotte McMath in twentieth position Kelly Gaiviso who had kept up with McMath finished in 25th place.
The men’s race proceeded at 6pm as had been originally planned. Attempts by those handling traffic, especially the Police asked to bring the time forward but were dismissed. This even though some of the men’s racing had been told it would start earlier.
In a large field all eyes were on Derek Barbara with local supporters expecting him to at least equal Nicola’s feat. Barbara already capturing attention locally after his success in the Tour da Malta.
Barbara was to unfortunately have to retire before the completion of the race. Also racing were Aaron Baglietto, Blake Torres and Bernard Valarino.
The race saw a bigger corwd attending especially by the area of Catalan Bay. The public was to see a collision by two riders hitting the central barriers and highliging the risks and speeds at which they were , something local spectators are not used to seeing.
Barbara was to unfortunately have to retire before the completion of the race. Also racing were Aaron Baglietto, Blake Torres and Bernard Valarino. Torres finished 22nd with Bellido 28th. Valarino finished 35th with Baglietto in 38th