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Cycling Federation of Belize

CFB National Team Heads to Barbados

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

After much time and speculation, the Cycling Federation of Belize (CFB) has confirmed the participating cyclists who will represent Belize in the upcoming Caribbean Elite Cycling Championships to be held next weekend in Barbados. This is the first CFB international appearance for 2015 after missing earlier opportunities this year due to financial difficulties as recounted by President Dion Leslie in a recent interview.

The contingent consists of five men and three women. The men making the trip are Brandon Cattouse (C-Ray Road Addikzx), Byron Pope (Benny’s Megabytes), Edgar Nissan Arana (Western Spirit), Ron Vasquez (Western Spirit) and Joslyn Chavarria Jr (DigiCell 4G). The women are Alicia Thompson (Belize Bank/Swoosh), Kaya Cattouse (C-Ray Female Cycling Team) and Patricia Chavarria (C-Ray Female Cycling Team).

With the most intense part of the Belizean cycling calendar in the first half of the year, only the cyclists and director can attest to their current form. National Team Directory Perry Gibson expressed a measured level of comfort with the fitness of the team. He cites Arana’s on-going racing activity in southern Mexico as clear positive. Moreover, he is hopeful that Ron Vasquez can continue to show good form as he did most of the year and that Chavarria, who has been on a high of late, can also contribute a strong effort. Brandon Cattouse, he affirms, maintains a generally good form and gave good account of himself in the recent Tour of Merida and Byron Pope has the wherewithal to show up when needed. The federation maintains that the selection process was in accordance with the national team selection guidelines. However, the individual performance of these riders in 2015, while not impeccable, was adequate to validate their appointments.

Men’s Selection
Brandon Cattouse was second in the Valentine Mini Tour, 3rd in Belmopan Classic and 3rd in the September Criterium. Ron Vasquez was third in the Krem Classic (first Belizean), 1st in the Elite Road Championships and 3rd in the King of the Hills. Joslyn Chavarria 3rd in the U23 Road Championships, 2nd in the King of the Hills and won the September Criterium. Byron Pope and Nissan Arana saw the podium less this year. Nevertheless, Pope did podium in the National ITT and the September Criterium while Arana made the podium in the Labor Day Classic and Elite Road Championships. Sure locks to make the team, but now noticeably absent from the roster, is Joel Borland and Giovanni Lovell, both of DigiCell 4G Cycling Team. Lovell is currently in the Belizean Coast Guard boot camp and Borland is concentrating his efforts at the University of Belize.

Women’s Selection
Alicia Thompson had a stellar year winning the Krem Classic, Valentine Classic, Women’s Cross Country, National ITT and Queen of the Hills. She also made the podium in the Belmopan Classic, National Road Championships and the Labor Day Classic. Equaling Alicia’s eight podium finishes was Kaya Cattouse who won the Belmopan Classic and the Labor Day Classic. Cattouse also made the podium in every other federation event with the exception of the Valentine Mini Tour where she withdrew due to illness. Absent from the roster is perennial favorite Shalini Zabaneh who is currently nursing an injury. Her alternate Patricia Chavarria, started 2015 strong with a 3rd place finish in the Krem New Year’s Day Classic, but took some time off the rest of the season to focus on her academic pursuits. She remains a formidable rider, but it’s uncertain how much saddle time she has accumulated since getting back on the bike.

The contingent leaves on the 15th of October and should return on the 20th. Alicia Thompson and Patricia Chavarria will take part in the Women’s ITT on Saturday October 17th and Nissan Arana and Joslyn Chavarria Jr will take part in the Men’s edition. The men’s time trial course is 37.4km or just over 23 miles with a max incline of 1.5%, while the women’s course is 24km or roughly 15 miles with a max incline of 1.3%. The full men’s and women’s teams are expected to compete in the Road Race on Sunday October 18th. The road race for both men and women will be on a 14.4km circuit, about 9 miles, with a max gradient of 5.2% on less than a mile of road. The women will do 86.4km, roughly 54 miles, while the men will do 11 laps for 158.4km total or just over 98 miles.

Gibson, like Federation President Dion Leslie, lamented the missed opportunity for a month long training period the riders were to undertake in Cuba from September 12 to October 12. The training was being organized at the Olympic committee level of both countries but did not materialize. Nonetheless, Gibson is hopeful that the relatively flat road course will yield positive results given the combination of riders making the trip.

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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