By Neto Baptiste
Two of the country’s elite cyclists have pulled of the National Cycling Championships slated for Saturday and Sunday here in Antigua.
Former champion Jyme Bridges Jr and current road race champion Conor Delanbanque, both based in the US, have officially informed the Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF) that they would be unavailable for the weekend races.
This was confirmed by the federation’s president, St Clair Williams.
“I got word from Mr Jyme Bridges that he is unable to attend, but we had gotten some information from Mr Conor Delabanque who is the reigning road race champion, that he would not be able to attend also, but we are pressing on and the guys are in good spirits and we are ready to go on Saturday and Sunday,” he said.
“I believe [the absence of the riders] brings it down a little bit because we were hoping to see Jyme, and everybody knows when Jyme is in his element that he is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to that, we know what Conor has been doing overseas and actually for the past two weeks he has been racing back-to-back weekends,” he added.
However, Williams is not downhearted and believes that others will continue with the good form they have had so far this season and that the national championships will live up to the billing.
“We have been watching the progress of Emmanuel Gayral with the Zappi Racing Team over there in Italy, and we have seen tremendous improvements from [him] as well, so we were hoping to have all these talents clash in these two races coming up this weekend, and we can’t forget the types of performances we’ve been seeing from our guys here in Antigua. We are talking about Robert Marsh, Jeffrey Kelsick, Conroy Thomas, Ghere Coates and Sean Weathered, just to name a few of the elite riders, and the Masters and the Sports Class have all been doing their thing as well,” he said.
Saturday’s Individual Time Trial is slated to pedal off at 9 am following a registration period starting at 7:30 am and concluding at 8:45 am while Sunday’s Top Ranking Individual Road Race, which is also powered by Subway, Gatorade, Paradiso and Inet, is slated to start at 2 pm. Registration will run from 12:30 pm to 1:45 pm.