Scicluna clear pack leader in Race Two of BDO Malta Cross Country National Points SeriesFriday, March 31, 2017, 13:48
Set against the backdrop of the Mġarr-Ġnejna coastal ridge, the second race of the BDO Malta Cross Country National Points Series race played host to forty-seven cyclists. The race also welcomed an international selection of fourteen cyclists representing Latvia, Italy, England, Sweden, Canada and Bulgaria.
The rocky and at times narrow terrain claimed quite a few victims to crashes including two of the top three Elite cyclists – Patrick Scicluna and Mark Bonnici emerged podium winners but not without some war wounds.
Italian rider Vincenzo Mento went all out to lead the pack from the very start of the race though Mark Bonnici (Agones SFC) was quick to react and swiftly started to close the gap. Veteran Patrick Scicluna (Mosta Cycling Club) and Maurice Formosa (The Cyclist) who made a welcome return after an injury put a stop to his participation in the first race, were hot on their heels working hard to keep up with Bonnici’s attack. An unfortunate crash lost Bonnici precious time in the very first lap, whilst Etienne Bonello (Team Greens) played some interesting tactics to become part of the lead pack. Formosa kept close pursuit of Scicluna from the start and gained a twenty second advantage over him. Until lap four it was evident that there was not going to be a clear predicted winner. Mechanical issues however put a stop to Formosa’s attempts at a win. With Formosa out of the fray, Scicluna had Bonello and Bonnici to contend with for a podium place but in the end it was Scicluna who had the better of Bonello. Scicluna crossed the finish line in a time of 1:15:26, whilst Bonello finished in 1:16:54. Bonnici completed the Elite podium taking third place, in a time of 1:19:07 after having valiantly fought to gain precious time lost during his fall.
“Today’s race was what I consider to be one of my best races, all lap times registered sub 13 minutes and I set a new lap record of 11 minutes 52 seconds. The route is quite tricky and though I also suffered a crash I was able to recover and continue as fast as possible “ commented a bruised and battered Scicluna after the race.
Scicluna and Bonello share equal points on the overall classification having both won and placed second in the two races so far.
Marie Claire Aquilina (Team Greens) continued to show that she is a constant force to be reckoned with having secured her second win of the Series in 57 mins 01. Aquilina gave a strong performance widening the gap substatianally ahead of her closest contender Danica Bonello Spiteri (Team Greens) who never the less also gave a good performance (1:06:15). Latvian cyclist Zanda Rutkovska followed in third place (1:16:19). The Association was pleased to note an increase in female participation from the first race
There were no changes on the top podium place from the first race in the Open Category when Mark Zammit (Mosta Cycling Club) (53:03) fought hard to retain his placing at the top of the leaderboard. In the second race of the series it was Wayne Schembri (Team MTB Malta) (53:31) who had the better of Ryan Darmanin (Team MTB Malta)(54:09) to take second place.
In the Masters’ Category Enrico Brandamante (59:57) once again took first place followed by Domenic Cutajar (Gozo CC) (1:00:01) and David Pace (1:04:21).
The third race of the BDO Malta Cross Country National Points Series will take place on Sunday 16th April at 8:00hrs at the equally scenic Majjistral Park.
The 2017 BDO Malta Cross Country National Point Series are being supported by BDO Malta and by Magri Cycles, Carm & Co Ltd (SIS products) and Island Beverages (H20nly).