Bigger international field for second staging of JICC
Following its successful inaugural staging last year, a bigger international field is expected for the 2023 Jamaica International Cycling Classic (JICC) which is slated to be held from March 31 to April 2 in Montego Bay.
Among the international participants that will take on the three-day three-stage elite race event is defending champion Andy Scarano out of the United States who will be leading his Team 706.
Another six international teams, up from two last year, are expected to take on the three-day 200-mile combined stages which will take the riders from Whitter Village in Montego Bay through Rose Hall, Falmouth, Duncans and Discovery Bay.
The 706 team out of Atlanta will be heavily challenged by road-racing teams out of Miami, New York, Cayman Islands, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana as well as Jamaica’s Cornwall Cycling Club and a composite team made up of riders from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Guyana.
Manager of the 706 team out of Atlanta, Clay Parks, says his team will be stacked with a powerhouse line-up including four of the riders that were part of the winning team last year.
“Having Andy, who has already won two races this year, means we will be competitive with anyone that shows up. I don’t know how the race will play out, as riders can get flat tyres and crashes, but we will be competitive.”
Among the riders who will provide some competition to the American contingent is Jamaica’s Jerome Forrest who is the leading road racer in the country as well as Trinidad and Tobago’s road race champion Akil Campbell.
Event organiser Carlton Simmonds from the Simmonds High-Velocity Cycling Club emphasised that there will be an additional new feature to this year’s event including a second loop for the riders of Duncans in Trelawny on day three, as well as a master’s race that will run alongside the elite race. There will also be a King of the Mountain stage.
Additionally, the under 18 and female race will be a longer event which will start and finish in Whitter Village while extending to Falmouth.
President of the Jamaica Cycling Federation, Wayne Palmer, says the event could in the future be one of the elite races this side of the hemisphere, and one that can go on to be beneficial for the country’s cyclists.
“I expect that this year’s staging will be successful like last year and with that being the case, we will be going forward to our governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to have this event ratified so that both our riders and international riders can qualify from this event for the Olympics,” Palmer said.