Plenty of pedalling ahead

Cayman’s cyclists are getting ready for a packed racing season ahead. The Cayman Islands Cycling Association’s main racing series for the year will kick off this Sunday when the Cayman Classic series takes to the road. the first event in the series will feature a 5km prologue time trial.

Riders set off individually with a one minute gap between riders. The time trial is often referred to as the ‘Race of Truth’ as it pits rider and machine against the elements. With no place to hide and no race tactics, the event is likely to see the strong men and women come to the fore and stamp their authority on the route.

The event is also the perfect opportunity for cyclists of all ages and abilities to measure themselves against Cayman’s top cyclists, with five miles present a very achievable target.

The second event in the series promises less in terms of speed, but more in terms of tactics as the cyclists take on a 65 mile road race on May 10.

With intermediate sprint points out on the course as well as points for the first riders in each category to cross the finish line, fitness and tactics need to go hand in hand for any rider hoping to bring home the spoils.

For sheer spectacle, there is little that can compete with event number three, a circuit race to be contested around Cost-U-Less on May 17.

Unlike other events that are contested over a set distance, the circuit race sees cyclists race for a certain amount of time. Once the time has elapsed, a bell is rung to indicate the final lap of the race. As the cyclists race around a circuit, it brings them past the spectators repeatedly during the event.

The event usually ends up in a bunch sprint and should therefore see the big men take their rightful place on the podium. However, an opportune breakaway from the main bunch could net a win for a more enterprising rider.

The fourth weekend of racing on May 24 will see another road race event following the same route as week two. However due to the tactical nature of road racing, even though the route might be the same, the result may well be completely different.

The final event of the series on May 31 features a 10 mile time trial along the ever popular South Sound route. The course record was set last year by Jerome ‘The Flying Frenchman’ Ameline with a time of 21 minutes and 35 seconds. With many cyclists targeting this event, Ameline will have to step smartly in order to retain his place on the top step of the podium.

Last year’s Cayman Classic champion, CICA president Gary Clarke, will hope to defend his title. However, he is likely to face a stiff challenge from the likes of Steve Abbott, Mitchell Smith, Steve Evans and Ameline, all of whom have already raced overseas this year. Strong triathletes like Jasper Mikkelsen could also mount a serious challenge to the dominance of the pure cyclists.

The sponsor of the Cayman Classic series, Karim Awe of the Cayman Insurance Centre, believes that this year’s event will be bigger and better than ever.

‘I am very happy to be a part of this popular event again,’ he said.

Mr. Awe also expressed his hope that more women will take up the challenge of participating in the events this year.

One of the ever present concerns for the cyclists is their safety on the roads. The organisers have asked that motorists please take care around the cyclists and wait until it is safe to pass a group of cyclists before attempting to do so.

Cyclists are also especially vulnerable when in roundabouts and motorists are urged to be on the lookout for them.

For more information on the Cayman Classic series, visit www.cicycling.com.

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