Upcoming Three-Stage a temporary arrangement- Sport Director
By Avenash Ramzan
The upcoming Three-Stage cycling meet, which has replaced the ‘Ride for Life’ Five-Stage, is being touted as a temporary arrangement due to the National Sports Commission not being solely able to carry the financial burden associated with hosting the event.
This is according to Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, during an exclusive interview with News Room on Wednesday. It was announced earlier this week that the traditional Five-Stage would not be held this year, but rather a Three-Stage event on the weekend of November 5-6.
Previously, the Five-Stage was funded by the Ministry of Health with support from the Sport Ministry, National Sports Commission and Guyana Cycling Federation. Its main aim was to spread awareness about HIV/Aids throughout all three counties where the event touched, using the cyclists as agents of change.
After that arrangement with the Ministry of Health ended last year, the National Sports Commission, under the leadership Jones, funded the entire Five-Stage.
“That activity with the Ministry of Health had come to an end, and as such, funding is not provided by that [Ministry]. Sadly, what obtained previously with the Cycling Federation is that there is an expectation that solely the cost for this event should be burdened by the National Sports Commission, and of course that is apposite in terms of how we operate,” Jones explained.
He continued, “But of course to keep the athletes out and about the Sports Commission would have facilitated it last year. This year we would have indicated to them that we are unable to do so, mainly because of some of the other activities we have, but of course we’re still prepared to lend support to them.”
While the Commission is not in a position to fully fund the Five-Stage come next month, Jones is hopeful that it will be held in 2017 since the benefits of hosting it transcend cycling.
“Like what we did last year, we collaborated with the Ministry of Tourism. It [Five-Stage] speaks more of a tourism package because you’re going to all of these regions of the country and getting the exposure and so forth. So I would be working with the Federation as early as 2017 to ensure that the 2017 aspect of the Five-Stage is properly coordinated in which we seek sufficient sponsors to come on board to ensure that the Five-Stage remains. The Three-Stage arrangement- it’s temporary, but we’re there with them. But we prefer to see it in the Five-Stage format,” Jones pointed out.
The two-day event will feature two Road Races and an Individual Time Trial. With a total prize package of G$400,000 on offer, riders will compete in a 65-mile road race on the morning of November 5, starting at 07:00h in Georgetown, proceeding to Mahaicony and returning to the start point for the finish, covering 65 miles.
On the same day at 15:00h, there will be the Individual Time Trial from Georgetown to Plaisance, a total distance of 3.5 miles.
The third and final leg will take place on November 6, starting at 11:00h, in the form of a 30-lap race around the outer circuit of the National Park, covering 70 miles. There is also a Three-Stage event that is held annually in May, in observance of the country’s Independence anniversary.