Sun | Sep 24, 2023

Sharpe sets sights on national titles

Published:Tuesday | March 28, 2023 | 1:01 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Last year during her debut season for European cycling riding club CANYON//SRAM Generation, Jamaican cyclist Llori Sharpe established herself as one of the future stars.

The 22-year-old started out her season with third-place finishes in the elite Il Liga Autonomica de Feminas in Spain last March, where she was also second in the under-23s. She followed that up with three more top-three finishes in elite races on the European circuit.

Despite the many international competitions this year, including the Pan American Games and Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC), which will both serve as an Olympic qualifiers, being crowned national (road and time trial) cycling champion is at the top of her wish list.

“Learning more will always be a goal of mine, so I continue to interact and train with more experienced riders and acquire more knowledge as time progresses.

“Another major goal of mine is to claim the national champion titles in June of this year,” the budding star told The Gleaner.

Sharpe was recently re-signed by her club and is pleased that they have seen her potential.

“I was super happy when the team’s sport director told me that my contract was being renewed. That reaffirmed that the team sees something in me and will support me in my development.

“It says I’ve also done well in contributing to the team’s success last year. So as it relates to my team (CANYON//SRAM Generation), I will be giving as much of myself to ensure that our collective goals are met.

“By the end of 2023, I hope to be satisfied with what I’ve accomplished in the months prior and with another contract renewal in hand,” she commented.

As impressive as she was in her debut season, Sharpe pointed out that some technical areas of her cycling need working on.

“Last year went reasonably well. Not only was I able to learn and grow as a cyclist, I travelled to so many new places and experienced new environments, which truly enhanced my time in Europe.

“But the technical aspect of cycling still remains my primary weakness, and improving on that only comes with continued practice.”

Adrian Clarke, Sharpe’s local coach, expects her to do really well and anticipates her Olympic qualification when she goes to the Pan American Games.

“You see the improvement. She is stronger, smarter, and everything looks good. She should win some races at the Pan Am road championship. We should see a podium finish from her and a podium finish would ensure qualification for the Olympics, and a top-19 finish would give her a place at the CAC Games, which would also be an Olympic qualifier.

He pointed out that Sharpe, who was recently home on a two-month break, trained and competed with her male counterparts and matched strides with them.

“She came and spent two months. We had a race at Palisadoes and two in Montego Bay. We didn’t allow her to ride with the females, and she matched the guys. She stuck with them and handled herself.”