TOBAGO CYCLING CLASSIC
1986 – 2011
To most foreigners, the name ‘Caribbean’ conjures up exotic images of small sun drenched isles,
surrounded by warm oceans, edged by white sandy beaches and draped by thousands of coconut
trees swaying in a constant stream of invigorating tropical breeze. For the visitor, Tobago certainly
meets those expectations. But as you look closer you will discover that Tobago is so much more
than Sun, Sea & Sand.
Still unscathed by commercialism, Tobago’s main towns and villages are bordered by contrasting
landscapes of the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, sheltered by a
verdant rain forest reserve set along scenic, mountainous terrain of its breathtaking coastline..
Amazingly, this tiny, rural islet spanning a mere 116 square miles with approximately 55,000
inhabitants; living for so long in the shadow of its big industrialized sister, Trinidad and, dwarfed
by her more developed Caribbean and Latin American neighbours, Tobago has emerged above all
as the perfect stage to host a world class cycling event.
The Tobago Cycling Classic began in 1986 by a local group of Tobagonian parents headed by
Tony Abraham & Brent Hart. The objective then was to offer youth and the local sporting
community a new sporting interest to the traditional sporting disciplines of football, cricket &
athletics. The Classic has seen many transformations since with the most significant being the
shift from a primarily local one day race to a 5 stage international event that has successfully
entered the international sporting arena, under the stewardship of Jeffrey Charles. From virtually
no international and regional competitors in the initial stages of the event, the Tobago Classic
has entertained on average 500 international and regional participants and fans over the past 5
years from over 30 countries.
The Tobago International Cycling Classic has certainly lived up to its billing and hype once again
in 2010. The reputation and popularity of the event is gaining momentum each year with tribute
being bestowed upon the promoters by many established international sporting organizations and
sport tourism sectors. The Classic has expanded admirably over the years, wooing to the shores of
Tobago in 2010 a record number of participants, officials & sporting enthusiasts from Germany,
Austria, Kazakhstan, Holland, United Kingdom, Canada, USA, Nambia, Australia, Columbia,
Dominican Republic, Curacao, Aruba, French Guiana, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, St. Vincent,
St. Lucia, Grenada, and Trinidad & Tobago. The level of competition was compared to some of
the leading international races and has received positive reviews from the representative of the
UCI (World’s governing body for cycling) who was on hand to evaluate this year’s Event.
This keen interest and appreciation generated for the Tobago Classic by so many interest groups
have grown far beyond the boundaries of a regional affair. The event success is measured by the
sheer joy and fulfillment as demonstrated by those we have hosted and the hundreds of enquiries
received each year from eager participants, officials and fans ecstatic by what they have either
heard or read of the Tobago Classic. This is testimony of the spirit of sportsmanship and
camaraderie that permeates the Cycling Classic Experience. The foundation is now firmly in place
and we are clearly poised for an even bigger and better Event in 2011. With UCI’s endorsement
and branding, there will be worldwide attention on the Tobago International Cycling Classic and
with it many lucrative opportunities for sponsors and other stakeholders to showcase their
products, brands and services to an extensive international, regional & local audience.
To quote the old adage that says ‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy’. Early breaks from the
cycling battle ground allow participants and their support group a choice to either lay back and relax
at the ‘cycling village’ compound and enjoy some quiet time overlooking the picturesque storebay
beach; or join with the rest of the classic entourages in exploring the many goodies the island has to
offer. Here again, options are aplenty, such as the very popular Classic Rum Punch boat cruise to the
world famous Buccoo Reef, Nylon Pool and picnic at No Man’s Land. The more daring seafarer will
have a go at sailing, scuba diving, game fishing or catch that perfect wave at one of the Caribbean’s
top surf spot at Mount Irvine Beach. For the nature adventurer, hiking and mountain biking tours
through the numerous trails of the eco rich rain forest is a must do.
Captivated by the alluring charm, absorbing culture and affable people of this islet, a favorite for
most visitors though, is simply engaging in the national pastimes of ‘limin’ [hanging-out]!! A few
minutes stroll out to one of the many roadside ‘rum shops’ you can enjoy an icy cold beer or rum
and coconut water with the local ‘bago posse’. Also in the mix is the village ‘sweet hand’ chef,
exhibiting oversized cast iron pots filled with mouth watering pig feet souse, fish chowder, pachro
broth (claimed to be Tobago’s natural Viagra) and sea moss punch for sale to the rum shop patrons.
On weekends, the teasing aroma of flaming pits of bar b que tuna, mahi mahi and home grown
chicken will be hard to resist. Here a gathering of the village story tellers and comedians are on show.
With heavy tongues from more than their fair share of brew already consumed, jokes and imaginative
tales are bellowed in enigmatic native dialect that would engross even the more subdued in their
midst. The all-nighters among the cycling crew go out to enjoy some of the many late night- spots.
Dress Code… Come as you are and party till next morning.
The Cycling Classic visitors continue to be an extremely potent conduit for promoting this
cycling event through many international mediums. All who have witnessed thus far, the unique
marriage between Tobago and the Cycling Classic have come to appreciate that with the Tobago
International Cycling Classic you get more than a premium cycle event, you get Tobago!
In the last 4 years, the annual ‘Isle ‘n Style’ magazine, a bye-product of the Tobago Classic has
been showcasing the best of Tobago across borders far and wide, stimulating much interest in so
much that Tobago has to offer. The Magazine focus is to excite readers with informed articles and
spectacular photography highlighting the many facets of Tobago’s Culture, Lifestyle, Marine Life,
Real Estate, History, Events & More…
As the enduring Tobago Cycling Classic celebrates its 25th Anniversary in 2011, the classic team
would like to ‘open its doors’ to all visitors to come and join us in Tobago as we step up our
efforts for a bigger & better Event with lots of fun in between in 2011.
We invite you to visit the Tobago Cycling Classic website www.trinbagowheelers.com