Hopkins & Rowse Win Bermuda Day Cycling

May 24, 2017

[Written by Don Burgess + Updated]

Youth triumphed over experience as two 17-year-olds won their maiden Sinclair Packwood Memorial race titles and a son joined his father as winners of the event.

Kaden Hopkins and Alyssa Rowse won the men’s and women’s races respectively, while another 17-year-old, Matthew Oliveira, who was last year’s race, was second.

Hopkins made a move on Flatt’s Hill and Oliveira bridged the gap before the pair worked together so that when the they turned the corner on Cedar Avenue it would be the one with the freshest legs determining the winner.

“Because this is a memorial race, it means a lot to be able to win,” said Kaden. “You always want to do as well as you can to support that person and support that memory of them.”

Kaden said the fact that this is only the second time the race has been competed on the St. George’s course made a difference.

“Matt, myself and a couple of the other guys are some of the stronger climbers so if there was going to be a move to split it up, it was going to be on one of the two hills. We tried it on Flatt’s and no one seemed to react fast enough and it gave us the opportunity to get away.”

The winner added that this “course isn’t as well known so the points where people try to attack and try to make moves” isn’t predictable like it is on the Somerset course.

Kaden added that he spoke to previous multiple Sinclair Packwood winner Wayne Scott to get strategic advice on what to do if it came down to a sprint on Cedar Avenue.

“I knew what to do when we got to it. When it actually worked, after I tried it, it was a feeling of relief that I was further enough ahead to hold it to the finish.”

Kaden gives credit to his father Greg for pointing out Flatt’s Hill as one of the places that a break might be possible.
Hopkins joins his dad Greg as the first father and son to win the Sinclair Packwood.

Kaden said his dad’s support “means more than anyone else’s because he’s the one that got me into cycling so being able to win it and make him proud gives me a lot of satisfaction.”

Greg said: “I’m really proud for him and really proud of him. He’s worked really hard to get where he is and he’s made a lot of sacrifices to improve and realize his potential and it’s days like today that make it worthwhile.”

Greg added: “We’re both very proud that we’re the first father and son to win and that we can tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
Oliveira said his disappointment in not defending his title is made up by the fact his Winner’s Edge teammate won.

“I saw Kaden go off on Flatt’s Hill and I caught him up and we worked together and increased the gap and kept it steady. He got around the last corner first. I was really hurting and didn’t have it in me to sprint past him.”

Oliveira said he had pushed it hard gaping over to Hopkins during the breakaway and that sapped some of the strength from his legs.

“Keeping that hard pace was what really burnt me out.”

“I would be more disappointed (in not winning) if it wasn’t my teammate and my friend that took my title from me but I’m glad that he had a turn and he deserved it.”

The women’s race saw Ashley Estwanik make a move early on. Rowse, competing in the senior race for the first time, had to ditch her strategy to stay with the women’s pack.

Rowse said she was “ecstatic’. “This was a huge achievement for me. I’ve been training hard for upcoming overseas races for the summer so it was nice to win a local race.”

She admitted her strategy of making a move in Hamilton was foiled when Estwanik went hard from the start. Zoenique Williams and Rowse worked with Estwanik to winnow the winner of women’s field to the trio.

Rowse said: “I got away from them on Cedar Avenue. I was first to the corner and then powered along to the finish. I was ecstatic. It was a great feeling to win.”

Update: The full Sinclair Packwood Memorial race results follow below [PDF here]

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