The inaugural Jamaican International Cycling Classic, scheduled for three days in Montego Bay, St James, will begin today.
The field includes elite cyclists from across the Caribbean region and the United States.
Each of the three event days will present varying distance and climb challenges. The 193-mile course will see competitors pedalling along the stunning white sand shores of Jamaica’s north coast and taking in landmark locations like Rose Hall, Duncans, and Discovery Bay.
Digital operator, Digicel is on board as a sponsor.
Speaking at the recent launch, brand marketing manager, Reshima Kelly-Williams said “with our support, we hope that theJamaican International Cycling Classicwill manifest its dream of becoming the Caribbean’s Tour de France, and this event will one day level the playing field in allowing our local riders and participants to earn points that can qualify them for regional championships like the Pan American Games, British Commonwealth Games and of course, the Olympics”
Kelly-Williams said Digicel was proud to sponsor the event while championing the cause for healthy lifestyles through activities such as cycling.
SportsMax is on board with live coverage of the approximately 150 pro and semiprofessional competitors who will go all out, not just for the bragging rights of winning the first Jamaican International Cycling Classic, but also in a bid to claim a piece of the US$12,000 prize fund; with a top prize of US$2,500 up for grabs.
Organiser Simmonds High Velocity Club said the ambition is that the classic will eventually become the Tour de France of the Caribbean.
“We want this to be a landmark event for cycling like what Champs [Boys and Girls Athletics Championship] is to athletics,” said club founder and former national team coach, Carlton Simmonds.
He cited that in recent years “the already high standard of our cyclists has increased significantly along with the number of people cycling”.
“But there was a gap and [an] opportunity to fill in the Caribbean cycling calendar to help our athletes achieve their best, and to prepare them for competitive events like the Pan American Games, British Commonwealth Games, and indeed the Olympics,” Simmonds explained.
“We have every confidence that cyclists and spectators will have a great time and, with an expectation of around 150 cyclists for our first staging – keeping in mind that in 2021 the iconic European events like the Tour de France and the Amstel Gold Race attracted 184 and 175 cyclists respectively – we’re off to a flying start,” Simmonds added.
The cycling classic is supported by both the Jamaican and Caribbean Cycling federations. The organiser said it was created to develop cycling as a sport within the wider community and further promote Jamaica as a destination for cycling tourism.