By Neto Baptiste
Competitive cycling is set for a return on Sunday with a 1.42 miles circuit race at the Coolidge Pan Am Base.
The race will be the first competitive event for cycling since March last year after all competitions were halted on a request from the Ministry of Sports due to the dreaded coronavirus reaching the country’s shores.
President of the Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association (ABCA), St. Clair Williams, said the event will also serve as a test against the association’s Covid-19 protocols.
“This is a race that was supposed to have been put on since last year, and this is being put on by the Wadadli Cycling Academy along with one of its major sponsors in GCS Bottling or Paradiso Water, and that is going to be the opening at the Pan Am Base in Coolidge. It is going to be a circuit race and it’s a test piece to see how we observe the protocols that we have put forth,” he said.
According to Williams, between 20 and 30 cyclists could take part in Sunday’s race which is expected to provide participants with a great way to gauge their fitness levels while testing their bikes and other equipment going into a packed 2021 calendar.
“The elite males, they will be doing 25 laps and it’s not going to be too long because it’s just an introductory race to make sure everybody is fit and ready to go for the season. To make sure everybody’s bikes are still working, and everybody is still in tuned with the sport of cycling, and to make sure we still have our members intact, so there are lots of things we are checking out. We are checking out the protocols to make sure they are working and they are in place,” he said.
“You have the masters who will be doing 20 laps, the females will be doing 15, the juniors will be doing 15 and the first class doing 15. The sports class will also do 15, we have the 13 to 16 cadets with 15 laps as well and we also have some youngsters who will be taking over cycling soon in terms of 12 and under, and they will be doing five laps,” the cycling boss added.
Sunday’s race is scheduled to pedal off at 3:00 pm and although spectators will be allowed to view the event, Williams said that all mandatory Covid-19 protocols and rules will be strictly enforced.