Covid-19 has put another spoke in the wheel of the sport of cycling.
The Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation’s (TTCF) planned first road race of the season — scheduled to pedal off today — has been cancelled.
It was set to be the first event since the lifting of the restrictions to allow for team sports back in late June. But following Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s announcement of new restrictions on public gatherings due to the pandemic Friday, the TTCF cancelled the race until further notice.
“We are being guided by the Government restrictions/protocols at this time,” TTCF public relations officer Roxanne Ramnath told the Sunday Express.
She said a new date for the event will be decided in future.
On its Facebook page yesterday morning, the TTCF stated: “To All cyclists we wish to advise as coming out of the Prime Minister’s announcement on Friday 31st July, of the new Covid-19 restrictions, the TTCF has cancelled the scheduled road race event on Sunday 2nd August.
We urge all to continue to adhere to all Public Health Protocols, as we are all in this together to combat this dreaded Covid-19 pandemic. Six feet apart, social distancing, hygiene and wearing a face mask is very imperative as part of our daily activities. Stay safe all.”
Commenting on the turn of events TTCF president Joseph Roberts admitted that the need to cancel the road event was a disappointment.
However, he added: “But when we look at the community spread that was taking place and the advice from the public health authorities, we were left with no other choice but to follow the guidelines. The only other event that we will be looking at at this point time is the virtual cycling.”
However, Roberts said his organisation was still optimistic about staging “live” racing this year.
“We are still hopeful,” he said. “We still have a couple months in the year still to go and we had earmarked the National Track Championships for November. We only did the National Elite. We had put a tentative period around November, so we will still evaluate the situation and abide by the public health advice.”
Only Friday, the TTCF had issued a release announcing the road race as the re-commencement of its racing programme with the event scheduled to take place at the Brian Cricket Academy, Tarouba today from 7 a.m.
To cater to riders in several categories —Elite Men & Women, Junior Men and Women, Masters 40-49, Masters 50-59, Masters 60-69, Juvenile Men & Women and Tinymites Men and Women — the TTCF announced that: “All attending would have to adhere to the Government Public Health guidelines. Protocols are to be followed. Face masks to be worn at all times and no gatherings.”
Registration was also to be completed exclusively by club managers reporting to the registration table with a listing of cyclists and registration fees and with no cyclists being allowed at the registration desk unless he/she was an unattached cyclist.
The TTCF had stipulated also that all officials and team management were to have worn masks while a process of temperature checks was to be executed on cyclists and officials upon their arrival at the venue.
Social distancing was to be maintained during the event by all clubs while clubs were to use the first car park area for congregating during the event. And no gathering or congregation would have been allowed at the start/finish line by persons other than officials.