250 foreign cyclists for Arima Grand Prix

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It’s shaping up to be the biggest and most exciting Easter International Cycling Grand Prix in T&T ever. With just four days to go before the official start at the Arima Velodrome on Friday, organisers have received registration from a whopping 260 cyclists from 12 countries for the two-day competition (March 25 and 26).

The field comprises Colombian Diego Pena, who is the Keirin champion in his country and ranked among the best in the world, by virtue of defeating countryman Fabian Puerta, who is currently the world number No one in keirin. Also among the competitive field will be Mexican Edgar Verdugo, a bronze medallist at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) and former Pan Am Junior champ in the sprints; David Espinoza of the United States- a multiple times sprint champion and Mexican Jose Aguirre- a Pan Am champ in the Omnium and Madison.

The madison, a team event in track cycling, named after the first Madison Square Garden in New York and known as the “American race” will be held for the first time on local soil. It was tested for the first time at the Night of Speed two three weeks at the Velodrome.

Meanwhile, the USA’s Dana Feiss has confirmed she will be returning to defend her title in the sprint which she won last year. Yesterday Gary Acosta, a member of the T&T Cycling Federation revealed she will be among many females and males cyclists from Cuba, Mexico, USA, Guyana, Antigua, Suriname, Barbados, Jamaica, Colombia, Austria, Canada and T&T to be here for this weekend’s competition.

The T&T team will be selected today but it will be released later this week. Acosta explained his federation will have a media launch to announce the members which will be chosen from the recent events at the Arima Velodrome, the Luces International Memorial event and the Southern Games at Guaracara Park, Point-a-Pierre. However he was unsure if Olympic Games-bound Njisane Phillip will wear T&T colours or if he will be competing.

“His team Rigtech Sonics did register him for the meet but we are not sure if he will be taking part because we cannot say how his preparation for Rio de Janeiro will be like” Acosta said. Njisane’s qualification for Rio was confirmed at the World Championships in London England earlier this month after he accumulated the most points to secure the final spot in the Americas region.

He returned to T&T last week to compete at the Luces Bros International Memorial Cycling Meet at Skinner Park on March 12 to pay respects to the Luces brothers, who both played key roles in his life. He is expected to resume preparation at the spanking new, state-of the art Cycledrome at Balmain Couva which has been closed for the past years, although it was completed.

Entry to the grand prix has been reasonably priced at $50 for adults and $10 children and according to Acosta, cycling fans can go nowhere else in the world to see top cycling at such a decent price. He calls on T&T to come out and be entertained at what he feels, will be the biggest event in the country’s history.

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