Arno Van Der Zwet, defending overall stage champion of the Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC), has been experiencing travel woes in his quest to defend his title.
The Dutch rider arrived in Tobago on Tuesday, September, 19, one week ahead of today’s start, but is yet to receive his luggage which included his racing bicycles.
He arrived early with the intention of getting some training in an attempt to familiarise himself with the terrain and the climate.
However, his plans fell flat as the Condor flight he travelled to the island on from his home country Holland, failed to deliver his luggage.
Van Der Zwet was one of several passengers on the flight who were similarly affected.
The PSL team rider said he has been unable to train for most of the time he has been on the island and got his first ride on Monday, as he borrowed a bicycle from a fellow rider.
Van Der Zwet said he is disappointed with the situation. He said he has been in contact with the Condor officials and was still hoping the luggage arrived by late yesterday evening in time for today’s opening. The 30 year old is not happy with the lack of concern shown by local tourism officials.
An irate Van Der Zwet, on the eve of today’s racing, took some time off to relax and calm his nerves with a trip to the Buccoo Reef.
Several other local and foreign cyclists arrived in Tobago via ferry on Monday on a delayed sailing out of Port of Spain.
The T&T Express vessel was scheduled to leave at noon but did not depart until 2.30pm.
Several vehicles transporting race equipment were left in Trinidad as the vessel was overbooked. The vehicles were expected to arrive on the island later.
The 31st edition of the TICC will get underway today with the opening ceremony at 9am. Stage One of the four-stage race pedals off at 1.30pm. The Cycling Classic concludes on Sunday with the UCI 1.2 Tour of Tobago.
Over 200 competitors will battle for honours over five days of exciting competition.
Ten teams have registered so far for the Division One category (PSL, Pharmaco, Raiders, Heatwave, Embrace The World, RC Schwalben, Econo, PSL-Jet Blue, Veloclub Ratisbona, St Vincent and the Grenadines).
Riders from the 21 registered local clubs (Arima Wheelers, Breakaway, Central Spokes, Heatwave, Hummingbird, Knight, Madonna Wheelers, Mountain Bikes Kings, Petrotrin, Pheonix, Rigtech Sonics, Southampton Wheelers, Southclaine, DPS, PSL, Raiders (formerly Foundation), SR, Wood and The Braves) will also be in action. Registration closes today at 8am.
Race One of the Four Stage race is scheduled to begin in front of the Shirvan Mall, Shirvan Road at 1.30pm.
Division One riders will do battle over 10 laps (120km) while the Division Two competitors will vie for honours over five laps (60km).
After the Shirvan Road start, the riders will turn left unto Claude Noel Highway, left at roundabout at Auchenskeoch, left at Buccoo Junction unto Shirvan Road and finish at the Shirvan Mall.