By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF) has confirmed that US-based cyclist Conor Delanbanque was a no-show at the recently held Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
President of the federation St Clair Williams made the disclosure during an interview with Observer media, adding that the body is still trying to contact the athlete after several failed attempts to do so since he did not arrive in England on July 27 as scheduled.
“Well, we will open an investigation into the matter and see how much we can get in terms of information as to why and if it is warranted … and that’s the next move for the federation on a whole. I called [Delanbanqe] but there was no answer, so we’ll continue to try and reach out to him and then we’ll take it from there,” he said.
According to Williams, several calls to the athlete have gone unanswered while he has not replied to messages sent to his phone or emails.
Ironically, controversy brewed over the selections made by the cycling federation ahead of the 2022 games, with veteran rider Sean Weathered questioning his non-selection after having dominated the local circuit since the start of the season.
Delanbanque and former national champion Jyme Bridges were the two cyclists chosen to represent the twin-island state at the event.
Williams said that although Bridges did not turn many heads at the games, the experience he gained could go a long way in the end.
“We knew off the bat that he would not be at the top of the scale, so to speak, because what we are faced with now is a pool of professional and semi-professional riders. When you bring amateurs into that setting, then all you can do is hope for the best, let the cyclists do the best they can. It is the experience we want to take away from it. What we need to look at as well is to see where our best cyclists are, and when we match them up against the pros at events like these, we see how we can bridge that gap,” he said.
Despite the challenges, Williams said the games served as a learning experience for all on the ground, himself included.
“That is one of the main reasons I was at the games — to look at how they put on events of this magnitude and try to adopt some of the best practices so that we could bring it back here in Antigua and implement it into what we are doing. So, from that perspective, it was an excellent showing. I love what I saw and I already have some takeaways and we will be implementing them for the remainder of the season,” he said.
The cycling federation will turn its attention to the staging of the Robert Peters 2 Stage Race set for Sunday.