OVER 200 overseas road cyclists have already arrived for the start of this year’s Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC) which pedals off with Stage One on Wednesday morning from eight o'clock.
Having already surpassed last year’s competitive turnout, the 2019 edition will feature athletes from over 20 countries vying for honours in Division One (International), Division Two (Open) and Division Three (Novice).
This year’s opening ceremony will be held on Tuesday at the Cycling Village Compound in Crown Point from 4 pm with all cyclists, team managers, officials, sponsors and the TICC Race Executive. Tobago House of Assembly secretary, Kwesi Des Vignes, is expected to officially welcome all participants before the event’s first race technical briefing.
Stage One of the TICC pedals off along Milford Road Extension, Scarborough, and will feature Division One (99 kilometres) and Two (45km) cyclists only. Stages continue daily, along with various Road Sprint events, until the climax – Tour of Tobago – on Sunday from 7.30 am. On Sunday, cyclists will circumnavigate a gruelling 120km course which rides off and concludes at the Esplanade in the capital city.
Last year’s Tour of Tobago winner, Colombian Oscar Pachon, has already confirmed his participation and will be joined by his able-bodied unit, Team Raiders. Pachon is a known competitive threat and will be the main target of the competing peloton, having won the final race on numerous occasions.
Trinidad and Tobago’ most renowned international road cyclist, Emile Abraham, has also already arrived for the Classic. His US-based team, NGCA Elite Team, will also be vying for honours throughout the stages and final race as they aim to put an end to Pachon’s dominance.
Speaking to race chairman, Jeffrey Charles, yesterday, he revealed that the anticipation is building for five days of exciting racing throughout the streets of beautiful Tobago.
“The increased influx of participants shows that there is growing interest in the Tour of Tobago. We’re excited once more to be putting on this amazing display of skill and talent on local soil. It’s going to be a race like no other with top talent from TT, the region and the world,” he stated.
However, Charles revealed that they will be hosting the race with the smallest budget in seven years. He indicated that the committee was forced to make several adjustments on the invited teams, cash prizes among other competitive intricacies.
“We had to do some fine tuning this year but we’re still pleased to have our longstanding and even new sponsors on board. Although, we have more riders, we’re confident that everything will run smoothly,” he added.
2019 TICC Teams – Veloclub Ratisbona (Germany), Velo Lounge Linz (Austria), TBW Bottecchia RT (UK), Marc Pro P/B Gym One (USA), Team Cliff Bar (USA), Team Race Clean Cycling (Canada), Recapi-Frenesi (Colombia), Team Pharmaco (International Composite), Team Heatwave (International Composite), Team Raiders (International Composite), Belize National Team, St. Vincent National Team, Guyana National Team.