|Tour of The Bahamas to attract world class cyclists|
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Jan 25, 2012
The biggest cycling extravaganza in the country is just a few days away and the excitement is brewing!
Organizers expect the 9th Annual Tour of The Bahamas, set for this Saturday and Sunday, to attract many of the top local cyclists as well as a bevy of international riders to these shores.
Staged in January during the winter season, the event is always a top attraction for North American riders looking to escape the chilly conditions in their home towns. According to reports, this year’s event will be no different as a number of professional cyclists and enthusiasts have expressed interest in coming to The Bahamas. In total, more than 100 riders have registered for the two-day event.
According to Director of Sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Tim Munnings, the event is one of the most important events on the local sports calendar because of what it promotes - competitive racing, healthy lifestyles, and foreign participation. For instance, world renowned cycling team, BMC Hincapie, is expected to send a junior development crew to take part in the Tour of The Bahamas. As a matter of fact, Tour de France Champion Cadel Evans is a member of the BMC Racing Team. Foreign participation is also expected to come from No Tubes AXA, Jamis Sutter, FloridaVelo Elite & Masters, ASV and Texas Road House.
Hosted by JAR Cycling Club, this year’s event is sponsored by the Bank of The Bahamas, Mahogany House, BTC, Scottdale Bedding, The Windshield House, National Fence Company, Cycles Unlimited, Atlantis, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, and the Ministry of Tourism. It carries a total purse of $16,000.
“We would like to thank our sponsors and we welcome cyclists in this tour where we expect 115-120 local and international riders,” said event organizer Jeff Major.
“This being an olympic year, we also have olympic hopeful Jay Major who will be competing in the Tour of The Bahamas in Category 3.”
Jay Major is the current
Junior National Champion and a former Caribbean junior cycling champion. The 17-year-old local standout is expected to be challenged by a number of top local cyclists including current Senior National Champion Tracey Sweeting and current National Time Trial Champion Mark Holowesko.
The first race in the three-race series will be the Individual time trial at 8:30 on Saturday morning. That race will cover three miles. Race number two will get underway immediately afterwards. The pros will cover a 42-mile distance (seven laps on a six-mile course), and the masters and women will ride for 30 miles.
The juniors will cover an 18-mile course. The third and final race in the series will get underway at 8 a.m. on Sunday. The juniors will cover a 24-mile course, the masters and women will ride for 57 miles, and the professionals will endure 76 miles. All of the races will start at the Clifton Heritage Park and will trek along the south western part of the island. A welcome cocktail party is set for Friday evening at the Wyndham Nassau Resort starting at 6 p.m.
Also this year, one of the lead sponsors, Bank of The Bahamas (BOB), will be staging a ‘Family Fun Ride’, set for Saturday afternoon starting at 4 p.m. at Caves Point. The 10-mile course will take riders east along the Cable Beach strip and back to Caves Point.
BOB Marketing Manager Michael Basden said that the bank is just ensuring that it does its part to get more community involvement in cycling, and sports in general, and promote healthy habits among the young people and the community at large.
“Cycling is one of those things that Bank of The Bahamas tends to take very seriously,” said Basden yesterday.
“We were out in full force last year and we had a dedicated team for the ‘Ride for Hope’. The Family Fun Ride is open to everybody. We encourage all who want to be a part of something fun and to be a part of something that promotes bike safety to come out and be a part of the Family Fun Ride.
“We’re real happy to be a part of it and we thank the organizers for allowing us to be a sponsor. This ride is going to give the opportunity to riders around town to do a 10-mile loop with some of these foreign competitors. It gives you a sense of what it feels like to be competitive, but the main thing is we really want to drive more awareness to bike safety.”
Interested persons are encouraged to register for the two-day event at tourofthebahamas.com.