The Bahamas will compete internationally in cycling for the first time in this Olympic cycle as a two-member team will travel to the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) Junior Cycling Championships for the Caribbean which is set for October 23-24, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (DR).
The Bahamas will be represented by Barron Musgrove Jr. in the 15-16 age group (juveniles) and Felix Neely in the 17-18 age group (juniors). Both competitors will compete in the Individual Timed Trials in their respective age groups on the Saturday of the championships and the road races on that Sunday.
Musgrove is the rookie on the team, making his international debut, while Neely has a fourth place finish in the road race from Guyana in 2019. The two young men along with team manager and Head Coach Barron “Turbo” Musgrove Sr. leave for the Dominican Republic next week Thursday.
“Felix is a two-time member of this team having competed in Guyana and finishing fourth. He is one of the top cyclists in the country, and we’re certainly looking for him to be extremely competitive, possible ascending to the medal podium in both of the events,” said Musgrove Sr. who is also the president of the New Providence Cycling Association (NPCA). “For Barron Jr., this is his first international trip and we’re looking for him to compete well and gain some experience to fuel him for future meets. Both of these guys are motivated and we’re sure they’ll represent the country well. We’re looking for both of them to champion the cause at these championships and spearhead the movement going forward.
“When you look at it, quite a bit of our junior cyclists are under the age of 15, so we are looking for them to develop to the point where they could represent The Bahamas at these championships in the future. We’re looking to send females to these championships in the future as well. We are continuing to build with our youth program around the country, looking to produce competitive cyclists here in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Andros, Exuma and all over.”
With COVID-19 swooping in March of 2020, sports worldwide ceased and a number of local and regional competitions were put on the back burner. Now, a number of leagues and international sporting events have been restored and are in operation again. Musgrove Sr. said it was a trying time for them in cycling but they have persevered and are looking forward to good representation from the two-man team in the Dominican Republic.
Musgrove Jr. will ride in a six-mile Individual Timed Trials on Saturday and will compete in a 43-mile road race on Sunday. Neely will take part in a 12-mile Individual Timed Trials on Saturday and will ride in a 53-mile road race on the Sunday of the championships. Musgrove Sr. said ever since construction began on the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium, thereby taking away their training base, they have been without a consistent training venue. He’s hopeful that the young cyclists in the country will be granted a venue in the not too distant future.
“In spite of not having the facilities to train on, we have continued to produce good cyclists. Our youth program has continued to move forward and these youngsters (Neely and Musgrove Jr.) are a part of that,” said Musgrove. “We’ve been struggling to get a facility here and there, but we have been surviving with what we have, using the sports center and the parking lot of the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium among other venues. We hope that the new government would assist us in acquiring some area of the sporting complex where we could develop for cycling. Once we are able to get that, that will lead to a surge in the amount of individuals who get involved in the sport for mountain biking, road cycling and short course cycling.”
Musgrove said they have quite a few youth cyclists under the age of 15 who are they are looking for big things from in the future. He expect them to form the next generation of Bahamian cyclists and represent the country well on the international stage.