Conyers benefits from Mayho bluff
Caitlin Conyers has revealed that a touch of kidology by Dominique Mayho kept her on course to win gold at the Caribbean Cycling Championships in Havana, Cuba.
Conyers suffered two setbacks in quick succession during the time-trial along the iconic Malecón on Saturday, taking a wrong turn before picking up a flat tyre to seriously dent her victory hopes.
Mayho, who was travelling behind in the support car, helped team mechanic Che’quan Richardson change Conyers’ rear tyre before informing her that, “You’re still winning’.
It was an inspired bluff by men’s elite rider Mayho, who is Conyers’ boyfriend, as he had no idea whether she was winning.
“I took a wrong turn halfway through the course,” said Conyers, who did not have an opportunity to familiarise herself with the course before the race.
“The guys in the support car were beeping at me to turn back and, on the next turn, I got a rear flat. I had to get Che’quan and Dominque to change my wheel. Dominique got me back on my bike about 30 seconds later and said, ‘You’re still winning’ and I was like, ‘OK, I can do this’.
“Afterwards, I found out that he had no idea whether I was winning or not. It worked though!”
Conyers, who won bronze in the time-trial in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, last year, said she was confident the gold medal was within her grasp despite the strong field, which included two professional Cuban riders.
“Jeidy Bernal Pradera beat me by ten seconds at the Pan Am Games [in Lima, Peru, in August], so I knew I could be competitive with her,” said the 29-year-old.
“I was definitely going for gold and not just looking to podium.”
In the road race the next day, Conyers finished sixth, two spots ahead of her Bermuda team-mate Gabriella Arnold in eighth, and admits that Cuban pair Pradera and Arlenis Sierra, who ride on the World Tour for Estana, had too much tactical knowhow.
“The Cubans’ tactics were so on point,” said Conyers, who won silver in the road race last year.
“They did everything pretty flawlessly and in a lot of ways I was amazed by the way they rode.
“We were just trying to chase down every attack. Once Jeidy got into her solo break, it was very hard to pull them back.
“I really enjoyed it, though, and learnt a lot. I know what I need to work on going into next season.”
Conyers will take a short break from riding as she prepares to move to Arizona with Mayho next year.
She hopes that relocating to the US will accelerate her development as a cyclist and plans to compete as a guest rider in stage races in Arizona and California.
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