Cycling has always been a big
sport here in T&T and over the years we have had medals at World
Championships and Pan American Championships, Commonwealth, Pan American
and Central American & Caribbean Games. All these medals were
on the track, and consequently because of the successes of track racers
Trinidad has four hard surface tracks / velodromes.
Track racing in Tobago was very
popular when track racing was on grass tracks, when grass track racing
went out, cycling in Tobago died, both road and track.
In 1983 racing was revived in Tobago by veteran cyclist Brent Hart
and his Kariwak Village Wheelers. The race started and finished at
Store Bay. The race was packed with competitors as all of Trinidad
came to be a part of the revival proccess, the streets were packed
with spectators cheering on the local Kariwak team plus a Store Bay
/ Tobagonian called Fitzroy Elliott riding for a Trinidad team.
The then king of road cycling in T&T, Robert Farrell was the favourite,
and riding for the powerful Warriors Team he was unbeatable. Veteran
Brent Hart was the first placed Tobagonian, thanks to help from the
Warriors team. The race was a great success, the mission of revival
was accomplished, and the race for 1984 was assured.
Over the years sponsors, names,
cyclists, and the courses have changed, locals have one it and foreigners
have one it, today the one big race in Tobago at basically the same
time of the year continues. In 2001 it was called the Coca Cola Tobago
International Cycling Classic, there were foreign cyclist from Austria,
USA, Canada, Belgium, France, and all over the Caribbean. This time
again the king of the road in T&T Emile Abraham showed his superiority
and was victorious. Emile is from Tobago, has won this race on many
occassions, and is also five times T&T National road champ.
We are hoping that Emile being Tobagonian will give the sport in Tobago
a boost, and encourage the politicians to see that our cyclists have
the potential to compete with the best in the world, not only on the
track, but also with some help, on ther road. Again veteran Brent
Hart has a team here (the only team in Tobago) called NOVA SPORTS,
and working with raw talent and no sponsorship at all, he has had
a sixth placed senior and fourth placed junior in the 2001 National
Championships. The same junior was third overall in the 2001 Coca
Tobago is a perfect winter training ground for foreign cyclists, the
terrain is challenging, the roads are fair, the traffic is scarce,
good foods are available, and of course the climate is hot all year
round. Sport Tourism will only be a cliche unless we do something
to promote it. The velodrome for which they already have plans, should
be built now. The road surface could do with some upgrading, and accommodation
houses must make an effort to facilitate this sport. If the little
infrastructure needed is put in place together with a good marketing
plan, Tobago could be going places.
On April 3rd this year the West Indies vs The World will be climaxing
its two week cycling extravaganzer here in Tobago with a Criterium
in down town Scarborough. Over thirty International cyclists will
be here to match their speed, skills, and strength. This event beging
on March 20th in Trinidad.