Antigua is primed to become the first English-speaking Caribbean country to host a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) event.
This is according to President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF), St Clair Williams, who said the body has made some progress in realising the feat.
“One of the major things as it pertains to races is that we already signed on with the UCI to convert one of our races to the UCI sanctioned races. We are working a lot behind the scenes and making sure we have everything in place because most people who are following cycling in Antigua and around the Caribbean would know there are no other races in the English-speaking Caribbean that [are] sponsored by the UCI, so if we get the green light to have this race sanctioned by them, it would be the only race in the English-speaking Caribbean that would be done under the UCI calendar,” he said.
The cycling federation was recently forced to cancel its national championships over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The body also cancelled the remainder of its 2020 calendar of events.
Williams said the focus is now on ensuring that the UCI bid is a successful one as it would benefit both the federation and the country on a whole.
“You are talking about sports tourism; you are talking about putting Antigua back on the map as it pertains to cycling and sports in the region, so it would be a huge step for Antigua and, by extension, the national federation,” he said.
“It’s a category 2.2 race where it is going to be a men’s elite race and we’re going to have to invite the top three teams because it is going to be a team race and you will have teams coming from different countries. It is going to be very interesting to see if we could pull off such an event in Antigua and hopefully we will be able to get through,” he added.
Williams said the body was forced to take the drastic measure of cancelling its National Championships after having to twice suspend the annual event, owing to the coronavirus. The UCI, which is based in Switzerland, is the world governing body for sports cycling and oversees international competitive cycling events. The body issues racing licences to riders and enforces disciplinary rules, such as in matters of doping.