By Franklin Wilson
When the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) 2017 national championships pedals off this weekend
with the Time Trials on Saturday and the Road Races for females, juniors, juveniles and veterans on Sunday, competitors will have to condition their minds for longer races.
For many years, representatives at the Caribbean level and further afield have been finding out that the races are longer than those being held locally which presents a disadvantage to them. The GCF in its efforts to ensure riders are better prepared has increased the miles for every category.
Cycling fans and supporters can look forward to some exciting and grueling races especially in the senior category given the fact that a number of riders have been campaigning on the USA circuit and are expected to be home to battle for bragging rights as the best in the land.
The senior road race which will be opened to junior and veteran cyclists for the first time ever, is set for Sunday June 25th and will be for 103.4 miles.
Senior riders will have to be very mindful of the fact that the junior riders have been competing with them and beating them and will not want that kind of scenario in the marquee event on the national calendar.
Juniors and veterans will have their own race this weekend but will have another chance at claiming further glory with the opportunity of matching the seniors pedal for pedal one week after their race. Kaieteur Sport understands that whilst this is a first for Guyana, juniors were allowed to compete in the senior category in Bermuda.
Geron Williams, who competes professionally in the USA for Foundation and is also a member of Continental Cycle Club, is the defending senior Road Race champion, a race he also won in 2014. Raynauth ‘Obeah Man’ Jeffrey
(Team Coco’s) won the Time Trials.
Meanwhile, once UK based four-time national female champion Claire Fraser-Green touches down, there is no reason why she should not be able to further etch her name in the history books by making it five wins in as many years.
The female version of the sport continues to be a challenge for clubs and the federation in terms of not being able to attract and keep this category of riders interested. While many have come and pedaled off into doing other things, Fraser-Green has been consistent in coming back home to keep the local link intact as well as representation overseas.
On the local front, Hazina Barret is perhaps the most consistent female rider but has not been able to put in the necessary training hours to upstage the national champion given the fact that she is now a Teacher.
Fraser-Green won both the Time Trials and Road Race last year. Christine Matheson and Ronella Samuels also competed last year but did not pose any challenges for the champion.
This year’s Time Trials on Saturday is an open event for eight (8) miles on the Linden Soesdyke Highway from Hairuni to Long Creek and back to the starting line.
Sunday will then see the females, juniors, juveniles and veterans battling in the Road Race. The females and juveniles will compete over a 53-mile distance from Homestretch Avenue to the Bottleneck at Timehri before returning to Homestretch Avenue.
Juniors and veterans will be tested over 70-miles from Homestretch Avenue to Camp Wesleyana on the Linden Soesdyke Highway and return. Race time on Sunday is 08:00hrs.
Christopher Cornelius (Digicel Team Evolution), Zaman Khan (Flying Ace CC), Junior Niles (Team Coco’s) and Raymond ‘’Steely’ Newton (Roraima Bikers Club) are the reigning junior, juvenile, veteran over and under-45 road race champions.
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