US champ wants Reefathlon’s $1k

Two time United States under 23 time trial champion Peter Stetina will participate in the second edition of the Reefathlon on 22 November.

Stetina, who rides for the Garmin-Holowesko Partners-Felt under 23 team, has been to Cayman before, and has already tasted success here, taking the road race in last year’s Cayman Invitational.

He said: ‘I’m stoked to return to Cayman and be able to showcase the sport I love. Every time I come here I learn something new about the Island from meeting other serious athletes to discovering scuba diving to everyone being so helpful in general.’

The year has had its highs and lows for Stetina.

‘I won a mountaintop stage in France, repeated my USA U23 TT national title, placed second to Levi Leipheimer (beat Lance!) and Oscar Sevilla on mountaintop finishes in the USA, and I was seventh overall in L’Avenir (a tour for under 23 cyclists, often referred to as the ‘baby Tour de France’),’ he said.

However, health problems caused him to lose much of the summer racing season, and he admits to only regaining a proper level of fitness recently.

His presence is certain to inspire Cayman’s top cyclists to do some extra training to try and give Stetina a run for his money.

In this case, it is not a mere saying, as race organiser Tom McCallum of the Reef Resort has offered a $1,000 bounty for someone who can set a new course record for the 19-mile race.

The current record of 43 minutes 30 seconds is held by local time trial specialist Jerome Ameline.

Stetina’s team serves as a feeder team for the ProTour Garmin-Slipstream team, developing young riders until they are ready to move on to the pro ranks. Garmin-Slipstream is home to 2009 Tour de France fourth place finisher Bradley Wiggins and 2008 Tour de France fourth place finisher Christian Vande Velde. Stetina will join these cyclist for the 2010 season as he makes his move to the majors.

Stetina cannot wait to get to Cayman, with his native Colorado currently suffering through some early season snow storms.

‘The Reefathlon is actually great preparation for the upcoming season. I’m getting to warm weather early and racing before everyone else. Hopefully this helps land me in good form for next spring’s races, most likely Paris-Nice, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and either the Giro d’Italia or the Tour of California.’

Local cyclists hope that home field advantage will play in their favour, as well as the ability to train on the course in the weeks leading up to the event. With the wind likely to play a big role in the outcome of the event, every ounce of local knowledge could help.

Fortunately the weekend will not be all about racing. Local cyclists will have the opportunity to go on a social ride with Stetina on the Saturday before the race, starting from the Reef Resort. There will also be other opportunities during the weekend to socialise with the cyclists participating in the event.

As for returning to Cayman again in the future, Stetina is very positive.

‘This place is addicting, I feel as though I need to come back at least once a year now and I hope to continue to bring friends and teammates with me to play and ride with.’

The Reef Resort is offering a special ‘staycation’ rate for the Saturday evening before the race, with CI$99 for a studio for two, including one ticket to the pasta party and barbecue on Saturday night, as well as one entry into the race.

This is valid for bookings confirmed by 6 November, subject to availability. Additional pasta party tickets as well as race entries can be added on to the package for additional cost.

Race pre-entries are available for $15, with race day entries available for $20. Entries include a Reef green sports bottle as well as a Reefathlon event t-shirt.

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