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Tuesday 2nd November 2010

10th Annual Caribbean Cycling Championships held in Guadeloupe 23 - 24th October hailed as a success released this week by the president of the Caribbean Cycling Federation.

11 years ago in the lobby of a Cuban hotel 4 Presidents of the regional cycling federations, namely; Renaldo Mackintosh of Aruba, Cliff Williams and Antigua and Barbuda, Cyril Mangal of St. Lucia and Trevor Bailey of St. Vincent came up with the idea of creating a cycling championships for the Caribbean region. The idea was approved while Aruba proposed to host the first championship. 10 years later the event continues to grow from strength to strength with a maximum of 22 participating countries of the Caribbean at the 2006 championships in Tortola, BVI. In 2002 a Caribbean Cycling Federation was formed in St. Vincent to oversee the running of the Caribbean and OECS Championships which is now headed by St. Vincent’s Cycling President, Trevor Bailey.

Guadeloupe leg of the championships celebrated the 10th year of the championships where several presentations were made. However, the CCF was fortunate to have a nation that hails cycling as their premiere national sport to host the event where the start finish line was professionally designed and also lined with thousands of spectators.

Antiguan Robert Marsh and Tamiko Butler competed on the opening day of the championships. The Antiguans competed in 40km male and 20km female Individual time trial events. Robert Marsh was one spot off the podium after producing the nation’s fastest time on the international Standard Time Trial distance (40km). Marsh produced a National record time of 56:25 to place 4th at an average speed of 42.53kph.  The gold medal went to Mickael Clarico of Guadeloupe with a winning time of 54:09; Silver medal went to Quintin Winkel of Curacao with a time of 54:34 while Martial Gene of Guadeloupe got bronze in a time of 56.01.

Tamiko Butler represented her nation in the Caribbean female elite 20k event, she placed 5th in a time of 32:11. Bermuda’s Flora Duffy captured gold in a time of 29:49, Susan Brown of USVI got Silver producing a time of 30:13 and Nicole Brown captured bronze in a time of 31:12. 

Sunday 24th October was the staging of male and female road race. The male rode 117km whilst the female raced over a 50km. The 2010 male Caribbean Cycling Championships is a qualifier for the2011 Pan American Games to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico. Interestingly, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guyana do not participate in the Pan Am games so the 4 qualifying spots went to the other eligible nations. Antigua’s Robert Marsh had another excellent day by producing another outstanding ride. The 42 year old was one among the race leaders to dictate to outcome of the race. He kept in the lead group for almost the entire race creating the break that went on to be the winning group.  Marsh sprinted home in an elite group of Caribbean best to place 7th, clocking a time of 3:05.59. Marsh was 3rd of the eligible nations for the qualifying spots of the Pan AM Games. The 117km race podium was swept by Guadeloupe’s Boris Carene, Fabrice Cornelie and Reigning Caribbean Champion, Frederic Theobald for gold, silver and bronze respectively. The other Antiguans participated in the road race were Jyme Bridges and Omari King. Bridges continue to produce some poor performance outside of Antigua as he faded in the 6th of the 7 lap race. Bridges fitness failed him to keep up to the end where his barely manage to finish the 72 mile event; he came in amongst the lesser riders in an unofficial 29th position. The Antiguan Cycling sensation fails to qualify at 2nd to last and easiest of the two remaining qualifying events for the 2011 Pan American Games. A bit of bad luck strike Omari King as he collided and damage his front wheel in the first mile of the race. He had his wheel replaced but was unable to rejoin the race group. King aborted the race after chasing for several laps.

A commendable performance came for Tamiko Butler in her first year as a female elite rider. Tamiko placed 9th in the female Caribbean Road Race. Butler surged ahead of the group with the aim to be the first at the line but took it too early; a group of seasoned riders eat her up before the line putting her in 9th position. The gold medal went to Flora Duffy of Bermuda, Sylviane Theophile of Guadeloupe silver and bronze went to Nicole Mitchell of Bermuda. No Pan American qualifying spots was placed in the female races.

The 1st Pan American qualifying spot when to 2007 Pan American Silver medalist, Emile Abraham of Trinidad and Tobago who was 4th, the second spot went to Pan American Gold medalist, Wendy Cruz of Dominican Republic who was 6th, 3rd spot to Robert Marsh of Antigua and Barbuda who was 7th and the 4th spot went to Wilfred Camelia of Curacao. Marsh’s achievement is a milestone for cycling in Antigua and Barbuda. This is first Antigua ever met a qualifying standard in cycling since qualifications became a requirement to attend the games. Marsh however, is extremely proud of his performance and achievement but in the breath made it clear that he will not attend the games due his unaddressed issues with the National Olympic Committee. In 2007 Robert Marsh and NOC’s Treasurer and 2007 Pa AM games Chef de Mission, Neville Fenton had a dispute where Neville publicly lied on him where his was drawn it to the attention of the then NOC’s heads, President, Chet Greene and LeRoy Williams. Marsh requested a retraction of the UN truth statement and an apology of which they fail to address to date. Since them Marsh refused to attend any event which is govern by the National Olympic Committee which includes the Wildcard opportunity for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio, 2010 CAC Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico and 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi, India. The individual Pan American Games qualification is non-transferable. The members of the cycling association are requesting that the government should intervene and investigate the attitude of Neville Fenton as the recently held Commonwealth Games issue prove that every time he is appointed as Chet de Mission the Nation few elite being affected by his attitude where we already lose Robert Marsh and now soon to be Ayata Joseph and Oraine Browne.

The Antigua and Barbuda National Cycling team was managed by Secretary of the Association, Roland Morgan and Assistant Treasurer, Sherifa Khan, female chaperon. Special thanks go out to LIAT Airlines who assisted to make the trip possible.

The Cycling Association will pull down the curtain on what proved to have been a very active 2010 cycling season with the grand finale on Sunday 7th November when they host the APUA INet Family Fun Ride. The event will start at 2pm at Bike Plus on Camacho’s avenue covering several parts of the island and finishing back at Bike Plus. Tickets are on sale at Bike Plus and members of the Cycling Association. The APUA INet Family Fun Ride recorded the highest number at last year’s event of a registered number of over 600 participants. This year’s event is expected to be bigger and better.

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