By Neto Baptiste
An all-male five-member cycling team will represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Caribbean Cycling Championships (CCC) slated for August 11-16 in Colombia.
This, after the Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF) confirmed that National Road Race champion, Emmanuel Gayral, US-based rider Conor Delanbanque, youngster Ghere Coates and veterans Jeffrey Kelsick and Conroy Thomas will represent the twin-island state at the competitive event.
Head of the federation, St. Clair Williams, said a number of things were taken into consideration when selecting the team.
“We are looking at a team that is going to do two things which is one, compete in the Caribbean Cycling Championships and also, the Caribbean Cycling Championships will be used as a qualifying event for the under-23 riders to go to Cali, Colombia later on in the year,” he said.
Noting the absence of female representation on the team, Williams said that with the unavailability of the country’s most successful rider for both 2020 and 2021 in Vanessa Kelsick, they were left with no choice but to opt for an all-male cast given the lack of options in the female category.
“Vanessa Kelsick, she is taken up with other things at the moment, but she has been the most dominant female cyclist in Antigua for 2021, but she said she was not available, and the other cyclists did not come up to what we are looking at in terms of the quality of performances to go overseas to represent Antigua in the elite cycling championships,” he said.
“I think what we will continue to do is put on events so that our female cyclists can continue to develop some more before we can take them overseas to represent Antigua and Barbuda at that high level,” he added.
Vanessa, who won the women’s division of the Individual Road Race during the National Championships held in June, and veteran Robert Marsh who won the elite division of the Individual Time Trial, both declined to travel for varying reasons.
The Caribbean championships was originally slated for June 11-13 in Cuba, but was then moved to the Dominican Republic with a new date of July 11-13, before being moved to August.