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Monday 20 May 2019
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NCC in doubt for PSL’s Fire on Wheels

Organisers in race against the clock…

(L-R) Brian Lewis, president of TTOC, Desmond Roberts CEO of PSL, Marcus Girdharie, managing director of Marjen Financial and Erin Hartwell, National Technical Director for Cycling chat, at the Olympic House, Abercromby Street, PoS yesterday, during the launch of the PCL Cycling Club’s Fire on Wheels due to be held on June 1 and 2.
(L-R) Brian Lewis, president of TTOC, Desmond Roberts CEO of PSL, Marcus Girdharie, managing director of Marjen Financial and Erin Hartwell, National Technical Director for Cycling chat, at the Olympic House, Abercromby Street, PoS yesterday, during the launch of the PCL Cycling Club’s Fire on Wheels due to be held on June 1 and 2.

TOP cyclists from all over the world will visit TT on June 1 and 2 for the second edition of the PSL Cycling Club Class One Fire on Wheels event. Unfortunately, those cyclists may not be able to compete at the world class National Cycling Centre (NCC) in Couva because of an air conditioning problem at the facility.

Instead, the event may have to be held at the Arima Velodrome.

Cyclists will use the event to move closer to their dream of competing in the Olympics as qualification points are available.

The event will also give TT athletes the opportunity to compete in a high level event on home soil compared to unfamiliar conditions overseas. TT cyclists Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne and two-time Olympian Njisane Phillip are among the athletes who will be in action.

Yesterday, at the launch of the event, at TT Olympic House, Abercromby Street, Port of Spain the organisers of the event admitted they were concerned that using the Arima Velodrome may affect the event’s quality.

CEO of PSL Cycling Club Desmond Roberts said the event in 2018 was of a high standard. “Last year we had a very successful event with Fire on Wheels. We got a 98 per cent pass mark from UCI hence the reason we got the event upgraded to class one. With the management team of PSL who worked really hard to achieve that with just about six or seven members of the PSL Cycling Club team that worked day and night to pull that success off last year.”

The PSL CEO said the lack of a functioning air conditioning unit is creating a problem. He said, “...there are some challenges and we need to overcome those challenges because of the venue that was used last year is up in the air right now and hopefully we get that sorted out before the event comes into play. (We want) to get back to the venue of the National Cycling Centre.”

Roberts said when International Cycling Union officials arrive in TT, he is uncertain if the event will still be sanctioned as a class one event if the Arima Velodrome is used. “I have some concerns about having the event in Arima. That is a major concern for the management team and after this launch we are going to review (and see) if we could revert back to the NCC.” Roberts is also worried about the weather since Arima Velodrome is an outdoor venue.

TT cycling coach Erin Hartwell does not think that having the meet in Arima will affect the event’s rating.

“Athletes don’t care where they race, they are coming here to chase the points and to come to TT, so whether it is indoors or outdoors that is a non issue. Of course we want to highlight our world class facility. We are hosting a class one event (and) we want to host it at what is considered a class one velodrome.”

Hartwell added, “What will matter is that the show is put on well and I do expect PSL is going to do just that.”

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