By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Bahamas Amateur Cycling Federation is slated to hold its annual National Independence Championships this weekend in Heritage Park. But there will be a new twist to the time trials and road race.
According to federation president Roy Colebrook, for the first time, the National Championships will be registered with the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the world’s governing body for cycling.
“The UCI, which has more than 190 national federations, granted us this permit to hold our nationals under their umbrella because we have been doing this race for so long, it’s now become a tradition in the country,” Colebrook said.
“We’re now the only country in the Caribbean where the nationals are registered with UCI and persons from around the world can come and ride in our races and gain UCI points. So there are a few competitors from the Caribbean who will be coming here to race this weekend.”
Colebrook said they have already received confirmation of at least two competitors from Trinidad & Tobago and St Vincent & the Grenadines who will be coming to participate. They are using the nationals to try and qualify for certain international events.
On Saturday, the BCF is scheduled to hold its elite men and under-23 time trials, starting at 8am. The event will cover 22 miles.
Then on Sunday, the elite men, under-23, open men will also participate in the road race. That event will cover a distance of 92 miles.
UCI is also expected to send down an official to assist the BCF in the officiating of the event.Colebrook, a vice president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee, said the BCF also engaged the services of the Bahamas Anti-Doping Commission to administer mandatory random drug testing during the nationals. “Everything will be there for these races,” Colebrook said.
The competition will take place in all age group categories in addition to the UCI categories.
Liam Holowesko is the defending national champion. He is registered and is expected to be challenged by Anthony ‘Biggie’ Colebrook, Lee Farmer, Chad Albury and a host of competitors coming in from Abaco.
With the addition of the visiting competitors, Colebrook said this year’s nationals should be one that no cycling fanatic will want to miss.