Ovenden rides tall with mountain bike bronze in criterium

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The race was won by former pro rider for Raleigh and Giant Elliot Baxter, the Isle of Man rider pulling away on the first lap and maintaining a decisive lead until the end.

Ovenden was next in line for most of the race, riding ahead of two Menorcans in the chase for silver and bronze, but with four laps to go Xavier Mascaro Mercadel moved into second place and maintained this position until the chequered flag.

Ovenden (34) rode with confidence around the 950m laps which Jersey’s Kieron Mills described as fast, slidy but well suited to Jersey’s cyclists.

Situated in Ayia Soulas, 27 km south of Rhodes Town, the route took competitors through the woods with a steep final climb preceding the decline towards the finish line.

Pleased with his performance in what he described as a tough race, a shattered Ovenden said: ‘It was a difficult race.

The pace was just mental and it didn’t seem to slow down once Baxter had forced the pace.

The course was brilliant, though – as was the support, and when the Menorcan guy overtook me I really gave it everything.

‘This may be my last Island Games, I’m not sure, so I really wanted to get a medal and it feels brilliant to have done so and to do the Jersey team proud.’ While Ovenden established his position near the front of the race, James Patterson put in a gutsy performance but remained further back for the duration of the race.

Kieron Mills however, suffered a puncture to his rear tyre on lap two and despite his efforts to pump it up, he couldn’t recover and pulled off the track.

The next race for the men is the gruelling cross-country two hour event tomorrow.

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