The 2017 Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships will pedal off today at the National Cycling Centre, Balmain, Couva.
This event will run until Sunday, with races (each day) starting at 10 am and 6 pm respectively.
President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) Robert Farrier, in an interview yesterday, noted that the local governing body is ready to stage the Elite Pan Am Championships, despite facing some financial constraints – it was reported that the cost to host the event was over $1 million.
“Well they’re working with us on it, the Sports Company and the Ministry of Sports,” said Farrier. “They’re talking to us, up till (Monday) night. We submitted some more figures to them so they’re looking at it, to see how they can assist us in the best way possible.
“We understand the challenges, it’s all round,” Farrier added. “This event is a major event for us in the Caribbean. We want to see it as that. That’s an investment for sports.”
Farrier disclosed that Brian Cookson, president of the global governing body UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), will be among the many dignitaries at the Elite Pan Am Champs.
Farrier said, “We have 25 presidents from around the world here visiting us, from all different federations. The Championships is not just the cyclists. The presidents and the (administrators) in the sport of cycling are very interested in the new facility in Balmain, Couva. The UCI president would be here with us on Independence Day. The whole interest about our new facility, in this part of the world, is drawing a big attraction from the cycling world.”
This five-day long competition will feature riders from 20 countries – Argentina, Antigua/Barbuda, Bahamas, Brazil, Barbados, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Uruguay, United States and Venezuela; batting with the best from Trinidad and Tobago.
Farrier pointed out that the TTCF have gotten a good feedback, from the riders, about the venue.
“They’re enjoying it a lot, they’re enjoying the climate here and they’re just having fun and getting ready to start their races (today).”
Overall, Farrier was high in praise for the work done by the TTCF ahead of this event.
“The preparations have gone great. We’re ready to go. We’re ready to kick it off. A lot of hard work went into this, besides the funding. It is a lot of work.
“The executive (of the TTCF) and our Local Organising Committee has spent nights upon nights making sure that the venue is ready and everything is (okay to) go. All we’re waiting is on is Trinidad and Tobago public (to) come out and see world-class cyclists. It’s something that has never been seen in the Caribbean. I don’t think they should miss this opportunity.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime. We have 20 countries, over 250 athletes, over 50 Olympians. It’s going to be at Couva this weekend,” Farrier ended.
Fans will have to pay $50 for any of the evening sessions, while the morning sessions will be free to the public.