Friday, December 15, 2017

Cuban giant for Easter Grand Prix cycling


RIDERS LINE-UP: Trinidad and Tobago's Aziza Browne, left, stands next to Cuban triple Pan Am gold medalist Lisandre Guerra, centre. They are among some of the local and international cyclists who will be on show at the 2013 Eastern International Grand Prix which rides off from 5 p.m. today at the Arima Velodrome. –Photo: Ishmael Salandy

Mark Fraser

Lisandre Guerra is expected to lap the field in whatever event she competes in at the 2013 Easter International Grand Prix cycling classic which begins today at the Arima Velodrome.

The world class 25-year-old Cuban cyclist is here for Trinidad and Tobago's premier cycling event which runs for the next two days at Arima, beginning at 5 p.m., before climaxing on Easter Monday at Skinner Park in San Fernando.

Guerra won triple gold at the 2011 Pan Am Games, and also won a bronze medal in the keirin at last month's World Track Cycling Championships in Minsk, Belarus. She is an elite, world-class cyclist and has set a high standard for upcoming local female cyclist Aziza Browne to aim at.

Still a junior, teenager Brown teamed up with Jody Goodridge to give Trinidad and Tobago gold in the women's team sprint last year at the Pan American Junior Cycling Championships in Guatemala. Brown is an outstanding young, local prospect. But Guerra is another big step up.

“I am not intimidated at all,” Browne said yesterday of her upcoming match-up with the Cuban. “I actually think it's a great opportunity for us to be able to ride someone as good as her. I think it will help us to improve.”

Browne added: “My aim is to do a personal best in the Flying 200m event I am in (today) and to get as much experience as possible against athletes of that level. I am still only a junior and they are already at the higher level, so it will help.”

Look at the Cuban and you see a cyclist. Her huge thighs alone probably are worth the $50 admission fee ($10 for children).

“It is my first time here and I am happy to be here,” Guerra said yesterday at the Ministry of Sport , Abercromby Street office, where the foreign cyclists and some members of the local team were on show. “I come here to do my best and have a little fun at the same time.”

The local team is led by Njisane Phillip, who comes up against the two riders who finished ahead of Trinidad and Tobago's bronze medalist at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Phillip was third to Venezuelan gold medalist Hersony Gadiel Canelon and Colombian Fabian Hernando in Mexico, before going onto on to finish fourth in the match sprint at the 2012 London Olympics. His rematch with the Venezuelan and Colombian is expected to be one of the highlights of the Grand Prix. Also on the local team are some of the T&T's top young men's cyclists in Akil Campbell, Justin Roberts and Kwesi Browne, who also excelled at the Pan Am Juniors.

“The Trinidad and Tobago team is a mixture of youth and experience,” stated T&T team manager Fitzroy Daniel. “We have youngsters like Kwesi Browne, Akil Campbell who we are trying to break into the next level. This is the level which our young sprinters like Aziza (Browne) have to step up to. We also have Njisane Phillip, who has broken into the top international level. He (Phillip) will be lending his experience to some of the younger ones.”