Longer course, bigger challenge for Tour of Tobago
Kern De Freitas
Ten more miles.
That’s the extra challenge for riders of the 2013 instalment UCI 1.2 Tour of Tobago for 2013, which pedals off from October 1-6 in the sister isle, the final and major event of the Tobago International Cycling Classic.
Last year’s trek was 60 miles; this time, the riders will get to see more of the northern Tobago coastline, with winding roads and hilly terrain, and pedal it, too. A total of $150,000 in prizes are at stake.
The event will again be televised by ESPN, and organisers are expecting a huge field, in excess of 120 cyclists—including at least 75 international riders from beyond the Caribbean—to line up for the event.
Tobago-born Emile Abraham, who on Sunday proved king of the road in taking the National Championships Road Race, should contest the event, having missed the Classic due to illness last year, according to chairman Jeff Charles.
Charles told the Express the format of the four-stage classic that precedes the main event, the “Tour”, will remain unchanged. He explained the reason for the change in course.
“The Tour of Tobago has been lengthened to give it a little more prestige in distance,” he said, adding it will also showcase more of Tobago’s beauty.
“I have a cut-off point for the first time because we not sure how the roads of Tobago will handle so many cyclists at high speed. At least 75 extra-regional cyclists.”
There will also be division racing in the competition.
Another change to the Classic will see the introduction of mountain-bike racing over two days.
Said Charles: “(The course is) through the rainforest of Tobago, and with that, we will also have an international presence of six to 20 cyclists competing against local and Caribbean cyclists.
“This will be the first time of this level of mountain biking in T&T, first time mountain bike racing (will be held) in Tobago.”
Charles also said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Ministry of Tourism have been named as partners for the event.
The sponsors for the Classic also include Econo Car Rentals, Angostura, Brydens, Magdalena Grand Hotel, Johnston Apartments, National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB), Standards, Blink/bmobile, Dasani, Mike’s Bikes, Caribbean Airlines, Pigeon Point Beach Hotel, National Gas Company (NGC), Vitamalt, Coca Cola, British Airways and Powerade.