Gibbs records best ever performance
- at tour of French Guiana
By Michael DaSilva
September 8, 2002
Federal Management Systems sponsored cyclist Dwayne Gibbs turned in his best performance at this year’s 11-stage Tour of French Guiana cycling championships by placing sixth from 79 starters.
Gibbs’ Caribbean team, finished seventh of 13 participating teams. The other team members were, Gordon Kennedy and Paul Cho-Wee-Nam of Guyana and Steven Mungroo and David Alves of Trinidad.
Of the 11 stages contested, Gibbs was at his best in the final stage which covered 131 kilometres. He placed second to France’s Ludovic Rousselot.
Gibbs was also in contention for four different jerseys. He placed sixth for the yellow jersey (tour leader), fifth for the blue jersey (competitive cyclist), third for the orange jersey (combined) and fifth for the green jersey (sprint).
Of the other team members, Mungroo, a Guyanese by birth and Trinidad’s national road champion, placed 34th overall in the individual competition, Alves was 47th and Cho-Wee-Nam 60th.
Kennedy who contested both the open and the under-23 categories, abandoned the race after five stages.
Gibbs, who captained the Caribbean team, told Stabroek Sport he rates this year’s performance the best in the four years he has participated in the tournament.
Gibbs explained that unlike other years, he rode a tactical race this year. “I had to sit and wait on the major breaks, I know who the strong men were and who were the danger men, so I had to wait and capitalise when they made their move.
Once you get out there with these men, you work with them,” Gibbs explained.
Gibbs went into the final stage (131K) ninth overall. During the stage, two riders from Holland and one from France made a fast break. Soon after, two others from French Guiana, whom he considered dangerous, jumped the chasing pack and he responded immediately.
He said together with five others who followed shortly after, they were able to connect and work together. He said he then realised there were only three cyclists in the front bunch who were ahead of him in terms of overall placing, but because there was a mix up in the information he received concerning the time the tour leader had on him, he ended up placing sixth overall.
Gibbs said he was told by the team’s manager that the tour leader had one minute 59 seconds lead on him, but in actual fact it was two minutes 59 seconds. He said the lead group of which he was a member, opened a comfortable two minutes 40 seconds lead on the second bunch which the tour leader was a part of, but at the end of the race, when he thought he had won the race, he was told the tour leader and eventual winner - Ludovic Exfort - in fact had a two-minute 59 seconds lead on him (Gibbs) going into the final stage.
“When we opened a lead of two minutes forty, I stopped working because I said I just have to sit in with the leaders.” Gibbs lamented, adding “I said I just got to sit down with the leaders and wait for the finish.”
According to Gibbs, Kennedy suffered a puncture after completing 10 kilometres of the fifth stage. He was told he had to complete the stage within 20 percent of the stage winner’s time if he is to remain in contention. However, he failed to do so and dropped out.
Kennedy told Stabroek Sport it was his first experience at such a level, but he has gained tremendous knowledge from the tour.
At the time he dropped out, Kennedy was fourth overall in the under-23 category.
After placing fifth among the under-23’s in the 3.5K time trail, Kennedy improved his position to fourth from stage two (99.7K) and remained there until he called it a day in the fifth stage.
Kennedy would like to thank his sponsors, Humphrey Bakery and Farm Products and Juniors Jewellery of Bourda Market, while Gibbs would like to thank Federal Management Systems once again for their sponsorship.
Meanwhile, prior to the just concluded race in Cayenne, Gibbs placed 36th of 114 starters in a five-stage race in Guadeloupe.
Gibbs also placed 44th in a nine-stage event in Martinique just over three weeks ago. There were 97 starters in the latter event.
Gibbs now has his eyes set on the Tour of Tobago which is slated for September 19 to 22.