By Neto Baptiste
The Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation (ABCF) has postponed the staging of its “Complete the Concrete Race” slated for Sunday in the Freetown area.
This, according to president of the federation St Clair Williams, who said a number of factors contributed to the body’s decision, chief among them being the safety of the athletes due to the deterioration of some roads on the chosen route.
“The course that we had planned to put the race on for this Sunday coming, they had some safety concerns about that and so we had an executive meeting and coming out of that we decided to go along with them out of an abundance of caution as it relates to safety on that particular course so now what we are doing is looking to put that race onto another course so we needed some time to make the necessary adjustments,” he said.
Williams explained further that the race was slated to start from the cricket field in Freetown before utilising a “concrete road” into Harmony Hall, adding that the main concern is with a stretch of that very road that would see riders racing both uphill and downhill on a narrow path.
“The installation of the road, there is a section where it felt a little corrugated and it was also going around a corner and in addition, that was a high-speed area where you could go up to about 40 or 45 miles per hour going down. So, if you were to be coming down that section doing about 40 or 45 miles per hour in the elite category, and you also have a slower person coming up the hill and you try to get away from that [section of road], then you may be encroaching in the other person’s space,” he added.
The cycling boss admitted also that a continual rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country was factored into the decision.
“We are looking at the dashboard from day to day and as much as we have been approved by the Ministry of Health and we continue to put measures in place, we also want to act out of an abundance of caution because the numbers have been up for the past few weeks. So, in addition to that, it is a good time to take a break as well and to reassess what we are doing. Nothing has gone wrong thus far with our protocols, but we continue to tweak it to make it better for our membership,” he said.
The race would have been the federation’s third since their return to competition in early February. Williams said a new date and venue will be chosen for the event.