MARIGOT—Following on from the national road race championship in June, it’s now the turn of the mountain bikers to show their mettle, and for one rider to become St. Maarten national champion in Male, Female and Junior category.
The race is set for Sunday, July 25, in Bellevue starting at 7:00am. It’s the first time St. Maarten has had a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI)-affiliated championship for mountain biking. The 5.4- kilometre course is already marked out and people can ride it.
“UCI stipulates the cross-country course be 27.3 kilometres for men and for women 24 kilometres, and our course is exactly that. It means men are doing five laps of the course and women four,” explained St. Maarten Cycling Federation’s Susy Piscione. “It’s a beautiful course but quite technical too in some parts which is how it is supposed to be for a championship course. It’s not for beginners.”
The race is open to everyone so all the usual categories will be present. However, the UCI championship categories are Elite Men (19 years and over), Elite Women and Juniors (17-18 years). Everyone gets a UCI ranking, no matter one’s nationality but because it’s a Dutch-side championship only Dutch passport holders are eligible for the title of national champion.
Elite Men and Women, and Juniors are required to have a UCI license. All other categories are open with no license required.
The usual mix of Dutch and French side riders means that not all is what it seems. Sandra Garnier for example, considered the fastest female rider, and Otis “Oats” Paines, arguably the fastest and most talented rider, will not be eligible because they are French, however they will be in contention for the overall wins in the open category. Garnier has a UCI license to ride in Elites, but does not have a Dutch passport.
Thus, the national championship is likely to be fought out between Elite favourites Mark Maidwell, Karl Spijker and Dick Luttekes. To date no French riders have entered from the nearby islands due to travel restrictions since racing is not considered a compelling reason in a health crisis for travel, and no entries so far from other locations either.
E-bikes will be starting first on Sunday, followed by the other categories every two minutes. Trophies and prizes from Tri Sport and medals from Point.com. Full details of the race are posted on www. trisportsxm.com. Registration is on-line or at the Tri Sport locations in Simpson Bay or Marigot.
Registration cut-off is on Wednesday.