ORGANISER of the Tobago International Cycling Classic (TICC) Jeffrey Charles, expects a bigger and better event this year, as more cyclists and more races will be held when the event pedals off on Thursday in Tobago.
On Wednesday, the opening ceremony will be held at 4 pm at the Cycling Village Compound in Crown Pt. Cyclists, event officials and sponsor representatives are among those expected to attend. At 5 pm, the TICC race technical briefing will take place at the village compound.
Last year's event was downsized owing to the covid19 pandemic.
"Things are looking good, normal challenges and things like that but I think we are going to have a good year. It is a big improvement from last year. Remember after covid19 everything was kind of slowly getting back to normal...I anticipate we are going to have a very good year," Charles said.
"A lot better than last year for sure, and last year was good, but this year we are going to have more cyclists. This year we having four stages instead of three stages, so it is a lot to look forward to. I am kind of confident that we are going to have a good year."
Charles expects around 130 cyclists compared to the 80 participants in 2022, but will know the exact figure when registration is completed on Wednesday.
Cyclists from TT, around the Caribbean, Central America, South America and the US will make up the majority of the field.
"We have quite a few top cyclists: Caribbean cyclists, South American cyclists, American cyclists. We will see how that goes."
Charles said it's always satisfying to give TT cyclists the platform to test their ability against overseas riders.
"Ninety per cent of the locals don't have the resources to go away and rub shoulders with some of the best, so this is their Tour De France...this is a big deal for me and a big deal for them that they could have international cycling in their backyard. I could tell they are looking forward to it, they are very excited about it – all the locals."
On Thursday, from 7 am, the cycling will begin. Stage one will start and end at Grange Bay, Mt Irvine with division one cyclists completing five laps of the 20K course in the 100K race, while the division two riders will complete two laps (40K).
In Friday's stage two at 8 am, division one cyclists again will try to finish a 100K trek starting and ending at Farm Road, Shaw Park, Scarborough. Division two (50K) and division three (10K) riders will also be in action.
Saturday's stage three at 7 am will be the market square criterium at Market Square, Scarborough. Stage three will be easier for spectators to follow as each lap is just 1K with division one participants completing 50 laps. Fans will be able to follow the progress of their favourite riders.
Saturday afternoon the cyclists will get a break with the Classic Rum Punch Beach Picnic at Pigeon Pt Beach Facility from 1 pm-6 pm.
On Sunday, the gruelling 120K stage four Tour of Tobago will start and end at the Esplanade, Scarborough which will be followed by the closing ceremony at 4 pm at the village compound.