Bonello edges Formosa on the line to take road race National Championship

Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 12:00

Bonello (right) and Formosa centimeters from the finishing line. Photo Ramon Borg

It was a hard fought race to determine this year’s road race national champion. Etienne Bonello (Team Greens) and Maurice Formosa (Melita Pedal Power) stood an equal chance to claim the national title as both lead the provisional classification after scoring the same amount of points in the first two rounds. No doubt the race was highly contested by the two contenders who brought with them their best team backup. The race was held recently on the Zurrieq – Mqabba circuit which features a gruelling incline on the uneven tarmac of tal-Maqluba. The circuit had to be covered ten times to a total distance of 100kms. From the start Bonello’s Team Greens took lead of the race and held a steady pace to keep the bunch together. The main action and attacking attempts took place at tal-Maqluba hill, however no-one was given the opportunity  to break away from the peloton, since  Team  Greens was  in control of the race. Half way through the race, whilst some riders started to tire,  the race became more aggressive with Cllive Ebejjer of Melita managing to break away. Team Greens controlled the situation by  chasing down Ebejjer, and through the impeccable teamwork of Gerrard Said, Jeffrey Borg , Peter Gatt and new signing Bulgarian cyclist Damian Filipof,  Ebejjer was eventually realed back in. Team Greens went on the offensive with a counter attack from Chris Gatt, along with Qormi’s David Galea managing to join him into the break.

The duo rode together to increase their lead and it was now up to Melita and Mosta to chase the leaders. Melita’s  Mark Bonnici, Pierre Borg and Clive Ebejjer found little collaboration from Mosta and it took a lot of effort to chase the leaders. Up in front Galea suffered a puncture leaving Gatt on his own in front. He was caught in the final two laps. In the final stages of the race Bonello found support from team mate Jason Vella who sustained  the high pace at tal-Maqluba hill as the race was now destined to a sprint finish. Chris Gatt pushed the pace to lead Bonello to the final sprint, however a very attentive Formosa anticipated Bonello’s move to open a dangerous sprint to the line. Bonello immediately jumped to his chase as the line was now closing in.  Bonello managed to oust Formosa on the line to win the race and the National Championship. Ebejjer Finished in third place.

‘It was my duty to finish off the good work my team mates did for me. I cannot thank them enough.  It was very hard and the final metres were very tricky. We showed great character and unity and the outcome was a result of our collective effort” said Bonello in a comment. The race was run smoothly by the Malta Cycling Federation with the collaboration of the Malta police, cycling  club delegates and volunteers. The next competition will be the final round of the time trial national championship which will be held on the 7th August with the classical season ender Hill climb at Mizieb. In the meantime the Malta Cycling Federation would like to invite all cycling enthusiasts to the Cliff Micallef Memorial bike ride which will be held on Sunday 24th July at 9am at Sliema Ferries

Results in the other categories

Paula Sciberras -  Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
Claudia Zammit -  Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

Masters 40+
Steve Bell – Team Greens
Joseph Bonello – Team Greens
Mark Schembri -  Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

Master 50+
Emanuel Bezzina – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
Lino Fabri – Team Greens
Mario Brincat -  Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

Masters 60+
Emanuel Camilleri – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
George Abela – Qormi Scott CC

Under 15 Boys
Carl Xuereb – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
Kurt Muscat – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
Nicholas Zammit – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

Under 15 Girls
Martina Sciberras – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
Nina Zammit – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club
Martina Pizzuto – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

Under 12 Boys
Alessio Galea – Qormi Scott C.C.
Issac Spiteri – Melita Pedal Power
Michael Sant – Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

Under 12 Girls
Maria Grech -  Mosta AF Sign Studio Cycling Club

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