The president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) Robert Farrier is looking forward to liaising with the new Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Darryl Smith, regarding the future development of the sport in T&T.
"I would like to congratulate the new Minister," he said yesterday. "We have a lot to talk about regarding the development of young athletes."
Farrier has recently returned from France where he was on hand to see the T&T senior track cycling team compete at the Open Nations Grand Prix in Roubaix, France.
The event was the last on the calendar for accumulating UCI points, which meant Elite local cyclists Jude Codrington, Quincy Alexander and Justin Roberts were on hand, competing in the Elite men's sprints and keirin events.
Farrier indicated that the meet was a good opportunity for the TTCF to get a measure of how the local riders currently measure up in world cycling. "We were competitive," he said. "I was able to look at different programmes, the different bicycles they use, and it was also a good opportunity to observe how they manage their facility."
The head of the local federation is eagerly anticipating the opening of the National Track Cycling Centre in Couva. However, the official opening which was originally carded for late July, has been put off.
"They (the Ministry) have told us that the unveiling would have been the week before elections," said Farrier. "All cyclists however were overseas in competition however, and it had to be postponed.
"This is something we have to discuss with the Minister," he continued. "We need the facility to train, so that is one of the reasons I would like to have a discussion with him."
T&T were unable to medal at the recent Junior World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan. Farrier told the Express that it is always a difficult competition for young local cyclists, despite the fact that they do well at the Pan American level. He indicated that even at the junior level, athletes need to be better prepared.
Regarding the future development of local track cycling in particular, Farrier said that top level riders should make the trip to the European circuit at least twice a year. "We have to go to more of the European Grand Prix to see where we're at with that level of competition," he said.
At the Open Nations Grand Prix, Alexander finished 18th in the sprints, and 13th in the keirin. Codrington was 27th in the sprints, but managed a 16th-place finish in the keirin, while Roberts came 22nd in the sprint and 14th in the keirin.