Caribbean Cycling Federation President Trevor ‘Sailor’ Bailey speaks TICC and cycling in the region.
Yohanseh Asukile interviews Trevor ‘Sailor Bailey”on the Tobago International Cycle Classic and the progress of cycling in the Caribbean. Bailey, who hails from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), is the President of Caribbean Cycling Federation is also the Vice-President of the Pan American Cycling Confederation.
Yohansey Asukile: Do you come to the Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC) every year?
Trevor Bailey: Not every year but we (St. Vincent and the Grenadines Cycling Federation) have been coming here for a number of years. We have a small team here. We are representing our country so we are using our country’s name.
Y.A.: How has the TICC been from what you observed over the years that you attended?
T.B.: Good and it is getting better and better too. We been looking forward to come to Tobago every year and I know lots of other people from the region and out of Europe also looking forward to come to the TICC. One of the races, the Tour of Tobago, is now a UCI-sanctioned event (now known as the UCI 1.2 Tour of Tobago), which is good because people can come from any part of the world, participate in the UCI sanctioned event and get points to qualify to go to the World Championships, etc
Y.A.: How well as the SVG Team performed at the TICC?
T.B: We were on podium in the junior events on a few occasions but we never reached podium for seniors which is pretty, pretty hard. When you want to develop a cyclist it is very costly. I could tell you if you want to prepare one cyclist for the TICC or two other big events for next year, you will need at least US $100,000. It is very important because you just can’t go out there and ride, ride, ride or participate in local events. You have to move out and go six or seven events a year. (You have to ride in) good events that will lift your condition. Last year we had about three guys who finished all the races who participated in division one so we are going to try and do our best.
Y.A: How big is the TICC throughout the Caribbean?
T.B: It is the biggest event in the Caribbean. There are international cyclists here. The Caribbean Cycling Championships is also another big event but there are only Caribbean riders. The TICC is able to attract people from Europe, the USA ( Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand) so it is pretty big. That is why we look forward to come to it.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Jeffery Charles. This is the 30th anniversary and he has been doing well over the years and it been growing from strength to strength.
Few years ago we had the (former) president of the UCI, Pat McQuaid who was here in Tobago and it was not the first time he came to the Caribbean. He was in in St Vincent, Barbados, and Guadeloupe when he was the president. We were trying to get the new president, Brian Cookson of Great Britain to come to this one but he is pretty busy around this time so I am sure we will get him to come next year.
Y.A.: How do you see the development of cycling throughout the Caribbean region?
T.B.: Around the Caribbean, cycling is developing a lot especially since we started the Caribbean federation. We have some good riders in almost all of the Caribbean countries who can put on a good show. The standard of the Caribbean Championships is very high. For the elite and the juniors it is very, very high. McQuaid had mentioned this at the congress following the very first Caribbean Championship he attended. He was really surprised at the standard and the quality. Even the commissaire who was there last year also spoke highly of the Caribbean Championships and everywhere you go people talking about the Tobago Classic. The Caribbean cyclists are improving and have improved over the years.
Y.A.: How was the TICC without local favourite Emile Abraham?
T.B.: I am sure lots of people will miss him. I know when he spoke last year it was very touching and you saw people were in tears (when he announced his retirement). He will be missed this year. (N.B. Abraham was due to compete at the 2016 edition but withdrew less than two weeks before the start due to health reasons).
Y.A.: How well do you know Emile Abraham?
T.B.: I know him well. Emile is my good friend. He stayed in my home already when he was in St Vincent and the Grenadines to race many times. I had to opportunity to present a medal to him at the Pan Am Games Road Race, in 2007 (when he won silver in the road race). That may be his highest achievement to date.
Y.A.: Would it have been nice for another local Tobagonian to carry the mantle from Emile Abraham?
T.B.: Yes, sure. I know there are some good cyclists in Trinidad, I don’t know the Tobagonian cyclists right now but you may have some young ones coming up down the road, you never know. You only have to find them and find the talent. We have a lot of talent in our athletes in the Caribbean, in athletics, in the sprints and in cycling. We dominate most of the Pan Am championships over the years. Trinidad, Barbados and Suriname have won lots of medals.
Bailey presented chairman of the Tobago International Cycle Classic Jeff Charles with an award at the end of this year’s classic to commemorate the 30th edition of the event.