“We could breathe again”- GCF President on cycling’s return
By Avenash Ramzan
“We could breathe again.”
That was the reaction of president of the Guyana Cycling Federation, Linden Dowridge, on the return of competitive cycling on Sunday morning.
After about eight months of dormancy, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, cycling was granted permission to resume, something Dowridge and the fraternity have welcomed with open arms.
The Federation received permission from the relevant authorities to host three Time Trial events, which would take the format of a Series.
The first one on Sunday morning was from Sparendaam, to the Kitty Roundabout and back to the COVID-19 Hospital at Liliendaal. Similar events are carded for Berbice on November 29 and Linden on December 6.
President of the Federation, Linden Dowridge, speaking to News Room Sport after the race, was understandably elated to see riders back on their bikes.
“We could breathe again,” Dowridge said. “But it’s not the full thing; we still have our limitations. We would be limited to Individual Time Trial events only because of the prevailing COVID situation. Getting this in itself was a tough job, but thanks to the quick cooperation of the Police Commissioner, the Minister of Sport and the COVID Task Force.”
Dowridge said under normal circumstances, the Federation would only need permission from the Divisional Commander for use of the roadways, but with COVID-19 measures in place, they had to seek clearance at the level of the Police Commissioner and the other relevant government agencies.
The President said the Federation is keen on promoting safety, and will continue to do its part in ensuring that cyclists and officials adhere to the COVID-19 measures.
One way of doing so is by hosting the Individual Time Trial events. Dowridge is hopeful these events will help to condition cyclists for that time when the situation returns to normalcy.
“Because there are a lot of guys in the peloton who are strong enough to ride by themselves, but they are just scared because of practice of doing so. So I’m hoping that this style of event would bring out some confidence in them, so we should see a little more aggressive riding in the peloton when we start back our conventional racing,” Dowridge opined.
Over 30 competitors were involved in the opening Time Trial and Dowridge said he was impressed with the turnout. In keeping with the COVID-19 measures, all cyclists were required to take a temperature test and officials were equipped with face masks for distribution.
The event was sponsored by Zoon Online Shopping, Star Party Rental, Professional Business Services and friends of Guyana’s cycling in the diaspora.