The National Junior Cycling Team pulled off a great performance at the Junior Caribbean Cycling Championships held over the weekend in Barbados. A five(5) man squad consisting of Emmanuel Gayral, Timothy Gayral, David Simmonds, Cody Thomas and Aidan Cannonier participated in the time trial and the road race
Renee Gayral, the youngest member of the team took bronze in the Juvenile Time Trial with a time of 15:37. Competing in the Junior Time Trial category, Emmanuel Gayral placed 5th and improvement of six places on last year’s performance. Aidan Cannonier finished with a respectable 15th.
This is only the second time in Antiguan history that a rider has medaled in Junior Championships in the time trial category.
On Sunday, the riders were in action again participating in the Juvenile road race. Riders Timothy Gayral and David Simmonds got off to fast start with Timothy being part of the first breakaway with a one minute gap on the field. Coming into the last lap it came down to a sprint with Timothy coming in 6th. David suffered a crash and was unable to complete the race.
The Junior cyclists competed next with Emmanuel Gayral, Cody Thomas and Aidan Cannonier competing. This race consisted of a hilly circuit which best suited Emmanuel, with Emmanuel riding in the lead bunch from the start. Three cyclists broke away from the pack and with two laps to go Emmanuel and Matthew from Bermuda broke away again. Matthew crossed the line first taking gold with Emmanuel placing second taking silver.
The team is managed by Derrick Sutherland and trained by UK coach Tony Gibb and local coach Ira Fabian. An elated Sutherland stated “This is a true testament to the time and dedication these young men put into the sport day in and day out. They approached the race as underdogs pitted up against more experienced and better equipped riders but skill and determination won out. We would like to thank the parents and the teams that allowed us to work with their riders.”
Proud Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation President Mervyn Gore, stated “I would like to say thanks to everyone who dedicated their time, effort and know how into making this first stage of our long term goal a reality. Without all of you this would not be possible. Special congratulations to all the cyclists and more so to those who triumphed.”
Gore also gave special thanks to the Antigua and Barbuda Cycling Federation Executive, The Ministry of Sport, The NOC and Elite Island Resorts for their continued support.
On return the team will commence training for the Junior Olympic Games.