By Neto Baptiste
Veteran cyclists, Robert Marsh and Neil Lloyd, believe cyclists in Antigua are at a disadvantage as it pertains to their chances of going pro.
The duo, who appeared on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show on Thursday, were responding to questions regarding the scarcity of professional riders coming out of Antigua despite having produced dominant cyclists at the regional level.
Marsh, who has built a reputation as a dominant road cyclist, said it is too demanding on local riders to both train as professionals and still work a regular job.
“Road racing is difficult and you can’t have a job [regular 9-5] and be a road cyclist and make it internationally. The amount of time you have to put in [training] and after that you need time to recover so you can’t go on the job after you finish training because you would not be strong enough and ready enough for the races. Right now, if you want to make it internationally as a road-racer, you would have to be a pro,” he said.
Marsh, who competed in the individual road race at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain however believes that if given the proper tools and time, Antigua could produce world class sprinters like that of Trinidad & Tobago’s Nicholas Paul who recently shattered the world record in the flying 200 metres, in a time of 9.100 seconds, breaking France’s Francois Pervis’ 2013 record of 9.347 seconds.
“If Antigua had a track, then maybe we would have quality sprinters because Trinidad & Tobago, every now and then, they have world class sprinters and right now they have probably the best [sprinters] in the world. They have the world record for the flying 200 meters I think a Trinidadian [Nicholas Paul], has the record for that,” the national athlete said.
Lloyd supported Marsh’s reasoning, adding that riders would need support as all of their attention and energy would be devoted to training.
“For road racing, you have to do a lot of that [hard work], you have to put in plenty hours in the saddle and you can’t come home and go to work but you have to come home, eat properly, get your rest so you can recover to go again the next day so that’s why you see a lot of us don’t reach that far,” he said.
Lloyd, who is also a dominant figure on the national and regional scene, competed at the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics.