All set for 2017 Tobago Cycling Classic despite hurricanes and budget cuts

CROWN POINT, Tobago: (Wed Sep 20): With one week before the start of this year’s edition of the Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC) the organisers are already juggling the effects of the passage of three hurricanes on the event as well as budget cutbacks.

The annual TICC usually attracts riders from across the region as well from Europe and South America. However, following the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the past month cyclists from the North Caribbean area and Florida have had their preparations disrupted and were  forced teams to pull out of this year’s race. With this ravage of  Hurricane Maria couple of days ago, more cyclists could be affected. TICC chairman Jeffrey Charles is disappointed with the withdrawal of the regional competitors. “These hurricanes have caused big problems for some of the teams who were set to come to Tobago for TICC 2 017. In the last week five confirmed teams (Guadeloupe, Cuba, Dominican Republic, St. Martin and Miami) cancelled their participation (prior to Hurricane Maria.). Now another big hurricane (Maria) in in the region.” Charles, though, lamenting the drop-out was quick to point out that the suffering of our Caribbean neighbours should take priority. He explained that the TICC is putting together a plan to seek support for the affected islands and territories. “After the disappointment of teams cancelling at this final hour due the devastating effects of the hurricanes we have decide to turn this from a negative into a positive. We want to sensitive our partners, supporters, stakeholders, sponsors and competitors to generate support for relief efforts. We have had participants in the past who are from or reside the affected areas (Antigua and Barbuda, Guadeloupe, British Virgin Islands and Florida).”

The 31st edition of the TICC has also been hit by budget cuts as the two major stakeholders of the event did not commit to support the event this year. Charles explained that as a result the organising committee could not afford to hire International Sports Network ESPN to cover this year’s event as has been done in the past six years and also to pay for live streaming. “We were given assurances by one stakeholders that the funding requested was approached but they had to pull back their support due to lack of finances. The Tourism Development Corporation (TDC) covered the expenses in the past to have ESPN on board but this year they are are unable to do so.” Charles, one the founders of the Classic, said that ESPN, despite their absence, have given their support for the 2018 edition. “When we indicated that we could not afford to bring in ESPN they assured us that that they remain committed to the TICC for next year once funding is available. The support of ESPN is huge for us. They believe in our event.  The TICC and coverage of the CPL (Caribbean Premier League) cricket remain the two major events they cover in the region.” Charles added that the major stakeholders have been partnering over the years as they have a vested interest in the TICC. 

With the drop in funding the provision of live streaming was in jeopardy. However, Charles, said live stream providers Stream Events TV (http://streamevents.tv) offered to provide the live stream at a minimal cost. “They (Stream Events TV) remain committed to the event and have waived their fees. We only have to cover their operational expenses. We are very grateful for their support. However, we hope for future editions of the TICC to have the necessary fundings as they (Stream Events TV) provide an essential service.” Charles said with the live coverage guaranteed former international professional cyclists now commentators Canadians Trevor Connor and Audrey Lemieux have join the commentary team. 

The Third (Plymouth Criterium-Friday, September 29) and Fourth (Market Square Criterium-Saturday, September 30)  stages of the Stag race will be streamed live on http://streamevents.tv/articles.

BIG EVENT… SMALL ISLAND STYLE…  Come & be part of this Tobago Cycling Adventure…. Dates – on September 27th. Through October 1st.  

Special Thanks: –

Gold Sponsors:

National Lotteries Control Board; Tobago House of Assembly; Ministry of Sport

Key Sponsors:

Caribbean Bottlers; BMobile; Econo Car Rentals; British Airways; Crown Point Beach Hotel; Johnston Apartments; Caribbean Airlines; Kiss Baking; Holiday Snacks; Agostini Insurance; El Pecos

Tobago Support Services:

Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA); Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA); Tobago REACT; Tobago Police Service; THA Division of Infrastructure: Tobago Information Technology Ltd – 211: Tobago Red Cross; Michael Baker: Desron Clarke; Radio Tambrin  

 

 

Clayton Clarke

Sportscore Tobago

Media Liaison-2017 Tobago International Cycling Classic (Wed Sep 27-Sun Oct 01) 

(1-868)-321-6195

Skype: tobtrackmed