Local cyclists upbeat over UCI satellite centre status

TT elite female cyclist Adrianna Seyjagat. Photo by Daniel Prentice
TT elite female cyclist Adrianna Seyjagat. Photo by Daniel Prentice

Local cyclists are upbeat over the recent commissioning of Trinidad and Tobago’s National Cycling Velodrome in Couva as an official Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) continental development satellite centre.

Elite cyclists Adrianna Seyjagat and Ryan D’Abreau, both of Arima Wheelers, agree the upgrade will create multiple opportunities for growth, not only for cyclists, but also for administrators and mechanics to further develop their respective craft.

A satellite centre assists in the development of athletes, mechanics and coaches through regional programmes and educational activities. It also allows certified international coaches to run programmes with cyclists to help them get to world-class standards.

Last Saturday, the Sports Company of TT (SporTT), in collaboration with the TT Cycling Federation (TTCF), cemented an alliance with the UCI’s World Cycling Centre (WCC) to position this country as the home of the hemisphere’s first satellite centre.

Director of the UCI WCC Jacques Landry said the satellite centre is vital to develop cycling and cyclists in all regions.

Saturday’s commissioning of the venue is the result of over six years of negotiation and work by the TTCF, SporTT and UCI.

Seyjagat and D’Abreau welcomed the transition, which they agreed would serve all areas of cycling.

“Being able to train at a higher level with world-class cyclists coming into our facilities is a big plus for us,” Seyjagat said. “The facility would also be used as an educational institute where you could get careers in coaching, mechanics and first aid, among others. So it does not benefit cyclists only. It’s a big motivation for us to keep training harder, and opens up a lot of opportunities.”

Seyjagat has been a cyclist for over ten years at Arima Wheelers. Since then, she has observed dwindling numbers of new and continuing female riders. It is her wish that this upgrade will inspire more females to join the sport and bolster TT’s rising talents.

Seyjagat remains optimistic.

“Female cyclists’ numbers were on the decline for the past few years. But because of the exposure from Nicholas Paul, Kwesi Browne and Teniel Campbell, a lot more females are joining the sport. I hope that the satellite centre encourages more females to come into the sport.”

D’Abreau shared similar sentiments and was eager to get going and welcome new competition to local soil in an effort to improve TT’s cyclists. He sees the satellite centre as a “very good investment.”

“Now we will have world-class cyclists interested in coming in and training. It will help young local cyclists who cannot afford to travel abroad to get elite training and work and compete alongside international riders. It will definitely help us out. I believe this will bring out the best of us,” he said.

Landry, who spoke at Saturday’s launch, said the centre will “carry out important work” in the identification, training and preparation of athletes wishing to pursue their sport at the highest level, as well as training people who want to work in cycling-related fields.

SporTT CEO Jason Williams said, “The commissioning of the UCI WCC continental development satellite at Couva is a major step towards the effective utilisation of TT’s world-class facilities and athletes.

“Cycling is one of the disciplines that has contributed to the country’s growing international reputation in sport, and we are delighted to partner with the TTCF to achieve this milestone, the first of more to come.”

TTCF president Rowena Williams was elated for the sport in the entire region, adding that athletes and teams have already begun registering their interest in visiting to access the world-class track and other training opportunities expected to roll out in the new year.


"Local cyclists upbeat over UCI satellite centre status"

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