The possibility of hosting this year’s Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC) remains highly dependent on the reopening of TT's borders.
The annual five-stage road cycling event is scheduled to pedal off on September 29 and usually attracts over 70 regional and international cyclists.
With just over three months to go, chairman of the TICC Jeffrey Charles remains hopeful the borders will be reopened by mid-August to ensure cyclists can make proper flight arrangements and confirm their participation.
TT’s borders have been closed to all international travel for over three months owing to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Charles has been in constant communication with multiple foreign-based cyclists to keep them updated on the possibility of competing at the 2020 meet.
“I have a lot of interest from international teams and cyclists for this year’s event. As of now, it’s a wait and hope situation,” said Charles on Friday.
The TICC also serves as one of Tobago’s biggest generators of sport tourism, with an additional influx of foreign coaches, family members and friends joining the athletes. Riders from Europe, South America andNorth America as well as the rest of the Caribbean have made the TICC a staple event.
Charles also confirmed he has already got the usual support from the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and some major sponsors who remain committed to the cause. Since its inception, the TICC has never been postponed or cancelled.
The organising committee is willing to consider pushing the event back by two weeks if necessary.
Charles is wondering whether, if the borders are reopened, visiting cyclists would have to be quarantined for 14 days before being allowed to compete. He said most of the cyclists come to Tobago for one or two weeks maximum. If this procedure is implemented, it may take a financial toll on foreign-based riders.
“I am not sure if opening our borders to international flights will make sense if TT’s policy is still in effect to quarantine all international arrivals. In particular, visitors for their full one- or two-week visit/vacation in Tobago or Trinidad,” he added.
In a June 15 interview,Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said he believes Government will consider reopening the borders when the rate of covid19 spread decreases in neighbouring territories.
“We have to judge if and when to reopen our borders based on the circumstances on the outside, just as we did when we closed (them). When things change in the coming months, I assume, there will be countries with decreased transmission, or no transmission at all,” said Parasram.
He said Government would look into reopening borders at that time, but the current infection rates in neighbouring territories did not look promising.