By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF) will, as of August next year, host a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-sanctioned event.
This was confirmed by the local body on Wednesday, when it announced that its SUBWAY 3-Stage Race has been accepted by the international governing body and has been placed on the UCI’s calendar as one of its sanctioned races for the 2021 Road Racing season.
President of the cycling federation, St Clair Williams, said the development opens a door to the international cycling world for Antigua and Barbuda.
“This simply means that cycling is taking the next step, because with a race like this on the UCI calendar, there are teams that would be able to come from any part of the world to participate in such a race and actually, within 48 hours of it being posted on the UCI calendar, a team from the Netherlands gave us the commitment that they will be coming to Antigua to participate in this race, so from the get-go we are off to a good start,” he said.
The event, Williams added, could also assist national riders to accumulate points towards possible qualification to the World Road Championships.
“Well as long as the races are UCI-sanctioned races, you will get points depending on where you fall in the rankings [position you finish in] in terms of first, second or third, then the points will be allotted accordingly and these points will go towards things like participating in the World Championships that just happened over the weekend, so teams from all over the world would be vying to participate in UCI sanctioned races because they will be getting points if they do participate and have a good finish,” the cyclist said.
The cycling boss said the body will be looking to work closely with both the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health in ensuring that all the necessary protocols are in place should they be required for the hosting of next year’s event.
“Even before we had brought this season to an end, we had put some protocols in place and submitted them to the Ministry of Health where we still cannot proceed to have any competitions thus far, but we are definitely keeping a close watch on things like the coronavirus and what is happening around the world because teams would be coming from different parts of the world to try and participate, but we will have to try and work closely with the Ministry of Sports, the Ministry of Health and all the other stakeholders,” Williams said.
“We would like to bring some more sponsors on board as well to make sure that this race becomes a reality,” he added.
The SUBWAY 3-Stage Race is scheduled for August 21 and 22 next year.