Champion cyclist calls for better financial rewards after gruelling ride
The Independence Three-Stage Cycling Road Race totals approximately 171 miles. It is contested across two days and at the 2021 edition, the overall winner received G$70,000.
The champion of this year’s race, Briton John, indicated after his triumph on Sunday that the financial reward is not good enough, given the cyclists’ sacrifices.
“It is not good; we race our hearts out in three stages and you get nothing. That is chump change [because] you got a whole team you got to divide the money between, which is not enough. We race our heart out just for that is not good really,” John said in response to a question from the media on Sunday about the current prize structure.
The race is usually organised by the Guyana Cycling Federation (GCF) and over the years it has gotten significant support from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport.
Before this edition, the event was last held in 2016.
GCF President Linden Dowridge said the prize structure is based on what the sponsorship could facilitate.
“I am not sure; it is the culture and history behind it. I came through the ranks [as a cyclist] and it was like that since then, everybody would like to win the Three-Stage.”
Responding to a follow-up question as to why the event, which he termed as one of the premier races, has the current reward structure, the President said: “That is dependent on what the sponsorship could facilitate.”
Dowridge added, “This Three-Stage, since its birth 30-odd years ago, has always been a Youth and Culture thing and we would like it to remain that way. We will try to do other events and have corporate Guyana on board, but we would like this to remain as it is, a Youth and Culture event.”
The cash prizes for second to sixth range from G$60,000 to G$25,000 in the Seniors category. The top prize for Masters, Females and Juniors is G$50,000, while a stage winner pockets $15,000.
Sport Minister Charles Ramson Jr. indicated that the Ministry is a core funder, but not the sole one of the event.
“The core funding comes from the Ministry, but it is not the sole funding,” Ramson Jr. explained. “What has happened over the last year and a half or so, is that companies have been far tighter with their budget so the revenue is not as high.”
The Minister said that due to the lack in revenues, businesses would spend less on advertising and it will affect sport events like the Cycling Race.
“We want to ensure that event happens, that is the first thing, but then that’s when a lot of these Associations get the springboard and leverage to go into companies,” the Minister expressed.
Ramson Jr. further expressed that developing the country is premised on the development of people and their talents and cooperation.
The Three-Stage race would usually start with the first leg being from Corriverton to New Amsterdam followed by Rosignol to Carifesta Avenue in Georgetown on the same day.
The next morning, the cyclists would race from Kara Kara on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway to Georgetown.