After performing creditably at the recent International Cycling Union (UCI) World Masters Cycling championships in California, United States of America, Guyana’s two-man team of Jolyon Joseph and Aubrey Gordon performed is calling for financial assistance to assist them in their quest to bring honour and glory to the land of their birth.
Joseph, who represented Guyana at the 1980 and 1894 Olympics, rode to a world record time of 11.420 seconds in the Flying 200 metres an event which was used to seed the cyclists for the Match Sprint where he was seeded number one.
Joseph’s time bettered the previous record of 11.473s set by Victor Copeland in 2002 at high altitude in Colorado Springs which makes his performance at sea level much more impressive.
In the Match Sprint, Joseph finished second to the USA’s Kurt Sago who won the first and third heats in 11.860s and 11.813s with Joseph winning the second heat in 12.313s.
Victor Rutherford, coach of the Guyana team, subsequently lodged a protest after the first heat claiming that Sato had passed Joseph below the sprinter’s lane which is normally instant disqualification. However, on review, the judge ruled that Sato was forced below the line by Joseph.
Joseph also placed second in the 20-lap Scratch race behind the USA’s Clayton Shephard with Michael Nunes of the USA third.
Gordon, also a two-time Olympian (1980 and 1984) who participated in the 20-lap Scratch race was forced to abandon the event with eight laps remaining after he was forced off the track when two cyclists fell in front of him.
The 500 metre time-trial was won by Sato in 34.936s with David Willmott of Australia second in 35.915s and Joseph, third, in 36.088 seconds.
Gordon rode the final event, the 40 laps point-to-point race which was won by the USA’s Shepard with Gordon placing ninth.
The meet took place at the Velo Sports Center in Carson, a 100,000 square foot, $15 million specially designed 250-metre indoor wood bicycle racing track.
The Velo Sports Center is also a part of StubHub Center’s partnership with the USOC as an Official U.S. Olympic Training Site and is a home track to USA Cycling’s national track cycling programme.
Following the competition the Guyana team rued the fact that that the cyclists and coach had to foot their expenses, stating that they will need financial assistance if they are going to be competitive at future meets.
Coach Rutherford added that arriving the Saturday and participating in the meet the following day was not good enough especially since the cyclists do not have the luxury of a velodrome at their disposal unlike Sato, who lives 10 minutes away from the velodrome.
He also pointed out that most of the competitors are full-time cyclists and have sponsors who absorb the costs.
He suggested that for next year’s meet which will be held at the same venue, that the Guyana contingent arrive at least a week prior to the commencement of the competition, so as to be able to train on the track, adding that hopefully, the team could receive assistance from sponsors, the Guyana Cycling Federation, the Guyana Olympic Association, the Ministry of Sports and Guyanese at large so that they can have a level playing field.
He added that the team would like to thank Neville and Cyril Hunte, Peter Sue, Mark Wills and Nehru Sheow for their support.