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Bandits in Cycling?

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It seems that the popular Belmopan Bandits sports organization, known for football and basketball, is keen on entering the cycling arena. Recently, reports had been circulating of a possible Belmopan/DigiCell 4G Cycling Team for 2016. At last Sunday’s circuit race in Belize City, we were able to speak with a current member of the DigiCell 4G Team management who would only say that such a partnership is being looked at. Apparently, current sponsor DigiCell may agree to share the sponsorship weight of the team with another organization. The Bandits has always been centered on the city of Belmopan and, supposedly, would like to engage riders in and around the city to localize the team.

The current DigiCell 4G team sports a five man roster including four solid U23 riders in Richard Santiago, Joslyn Chavarria (Belize City Criterium Champ 2015), Joel Borland (King of the Hills Champ 2015) and Giovanni Lovell (National Road and ITT Champ 2015). Rounding out the group is Gregory Lovell, older brother of Giovanni, who is still one of the fastest sprinters in the country but lacks significant results recently. The sponsorship merger is reportedly adding riders from the short-lived, now dissolved, Outback Ranch Cycling Team. Mention has been made of Erwin Middleton, Allen Michael Castillo and Joel Vanegas, but we have been unable to confirm. Pending the outcome of any changes to the DigiCell 4G configuration, focus will no doubt have to remain on Joel Borland and Giovanni Lovell going forward, as they represent great promise not just for their team, but also for the future of cycling in Belize. However, the team’s 2015 season was marked by questionable reads in races that yielded disappointing results in the major classics.

In 2016, the CFB Foreign Rider Policy enters its third year where no foreign national will be allowed to ride on local teams. DigiCELL 4G has always maintained a strictly Belizean team so the change in 2016 will not affect their dynamics. Nevertheless, with the possibility of others re-tooling to form the best local team for 2016, it would come as no surprise if DigiCell 4G, or whatever label they choose to ride under, does the same.

About Isaac Rhys

Isaac Rhys is the Managing Editor at cyclebiz.com. Based in the Belize, he started Cyclebiz in 2015 intent on attracting more attention to local bike races and its participants.

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