Melen makes ‘em pay

James Mele found time to smile after a gruelling race

James Melen made the most of opportunities presented to him as he won the Cayman Islands Cycling Association’s 27-mile handicap road race on Sunday, 16 July, 2017.

The field was split into three groups for a staggered start, with elite riders last to pedal off from EverGlo Bar in Bodden Town on a course through Frank Sound, North Side, Old Robin Rd, Queen’s Highway, East End, and back to Bodden Town.

Melen, a solid time trial rider, was placed in the second group with a five-minute head start ahead of the final group with most of the elite riders.

Knowing that the cyclists behind them would be pressing hard to close the gap, Melen said his group strategized to keep them at bay.

“We knew we had to have a plan, so a group of us decided that we would take 30 seconds at the front and just keep on swapping around. We did that right from the word ‘go’. As we got into the fifth to 10th mile mark, some of the guys dropped off and then it was four or five of us. We managed to stay out front. We kept that 30-second interval pattern and we managed to stay ahead,” he told

The plan worked, as the race came down to a sprint between four riders from the middle group – Melen, Jamie Hughes, Johann Prinsloo and Gary Frost.

“We came into the final 300 metres. Jamie went for a sprint finish. He probably went a bit too soon and he began to slow a bit. He sat up, probably thinking he was closer to the finish line [than he was] and I was able to put the power down, keep my cadence, managed to get out front and keep it for the win,” Melen explained.

The top three finishers with CI Cycling president Craig Merren.

Prinsloo was second, Hughes third and Frost fourth. The rest of the top ten was filled out by riders from the final group to start. (See full results below)

With the July sun beaming down, despite the 7:00 a.m. start, temperatures rose quickly making for hot conditions. But as the mercury rose, so too did the competitive spirits of the riders.

“I entered the race expecting to have a lot of fun. I think that was the concept but whenever you get a bunch of people together riding a race, it always teeters on the brink of fun and then pain. It was tough out there,” Melen recalled.

Vico Testori (left) and Jonathan Webster make their way through East End.



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