THE recently repaired air-conditioned cooling system at the National Cycling Velodrome, in Couva, will be put to the test tomorrow and Sunday as the state-of-the-art track is expected to be scorched by a barrage of local and international cyclists for the highly anticipated 2019 edition of PSL Cycling Clubâs â” Fire on Wheels.
This decorated meet has received a top-shelf Class One rating from the sportâs global governing body â” International Cycling Union (UCI) â” and will see competing cyclists vie for precious UCI points towards their respective World Cycling Championships qualification campaigns. Eleven countries â” USA, Canada, Russia, Netherlands, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, Suriname, England, and Ireland â” have already confirmed their participation.
Thus far, USAâs reigning female sprint champion, Mandy Marquardt and this yearâs Chilean Pan American Games Madison gold medallists among others, have already arrived and are warming up for this weekendâs exciting schedule of events.
The visitors are expected to face stiff competition from TTâs representatives, who are gearing up to put on a spectacular show on home soil.
Fresh off their scintillating campaign at the Pan American Cycling Championships, two of TTâs record-breaking Menâs Team Sprint team â” Kwesi Browne and Keron Bramble â” are expected to compete alongside scores of other top local talents such as Quincy Alexander, Akil Campbell and female Dominique Lovell among others.
Co-ordinator of this prized event, Alexander Smith, revealed that preparations are on-course towards another successful hosting of Fire on Wheels.
“Last year at the first edition, our meet was graded as Class Two by UCI. However, due to high standard of our organisation and execution, we were given a 98 per cent pass rate by the UCI. This rating has bolstered the meet now to a Grade One and is the second of this kind to ever to be held in Trinidad, following the 2017 Easter Grand Prix. It is though, the first Class One meet to be hosted by a private entity (PSL),” he explained.
Smith also breathed a sigh of relief when he was informed by the Ministry of Sport on August 31 that the air conditioning system for the Velodrome was finally repaired and that the venue would be able to facilitate this historic event. The meet co-ordinator also heaped praises on organiser, Desmond Roberts, who is the brainchild and main sponsor of this meet, and the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) for their support.
“Mr Roberts is an avid cyclist and has a great passion for the sport. As a corporate citizen, his goal is to develop cycling and utilise the Velodrome to showcase our talents and attract more international riders to TT. The window for World Championships qualification closes on September 17, so he has provided both local and international cyclists with a last-minute opportunity to grab some much-needed UCI points,” Smith added.
Both sprint and endurance races will be contested over the two days of competition. Action rides off on Saturday from 5pm while the meet climaxes on Sunday from 4pm. Admission is $40 on each day.
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