Dunne: Future bright for women’s cycling
Peter Dunne, the Bermuda Bicycle Association president, has hailed the strength in depth of women’s cycling on the island.
Dunne’s praise follows on from Caitlin Conyers’s medal success at the Elite Caribbean Cycling Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, last weekend.
Making her international debut, Conyers won silver in the road race and bronze in the time-trial, while Gabriella Arnold, the only rider in her division, came home with a victory in the under-23 division.
Conyers thrilling sprint finish to capture second in the road race earned Bermuda a qualifying berth at the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, next summer.
“Our understanding is that we’ve qualified Bermuda a spot for a woman at the Pan Am Games,” Dunne said.
“Caitlin beat third place by a really small fraction — less than a foot. It was a really strong effort by her to get that [spot].”
It has been a memorable season for Conyers who has reigned supreme locally, winning the Presidents Cup, the Bermuda National Road Race Championships, the BBA Time-Trial National Championships and the Butterfield Bermuda Grand Prix.
“This has been her first really competitive year,” Dunne said. “She’s a good athlete and she’s super strong; the strongest woman in Bermuda right now. Across time-trial, road race and criterium — it’s doesn’t really matter.”
Medal glory at the championships is nothing new for Bermuda’s women’s riders.
Flora Duffy, Deanna Thomson, Zoenique Williams, Nicole Mitchell, Deanna McMullen, Lynn Patchett, Julia Hawley and Melanie Claude have all visited the podium, in some cases several times.
And with youngsters Arnold and Alyssa Rowse, who is eligible next year, showing plenty of promise, Dunne is already dreaming of another medal haul at next year’s event in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
“We have consistently won medals at the championships for women,” he said. “I can’t remember when we’ve come away empty-handed over the past ten years. We’re getting to the point where we have quite a deep pool of talent and potential participants at this level. It bodes really well for the future.
“Nicole and Zoenique are still racing, there’s Caitlin and Gabby, while Alyssa Rowse will move into the elite field next year. In 2019 we could have five very good female cyclists representing us, which is pretty sweet.”
There was also medal joy for the island’s men’s team last weekend.
Conor White, a debutant at the senior level, grabbed silver in the under-23 time-trial while Dominique Mayho came seventh to secure his best finish at the championships.
“Conor was amazing,” Dunne said. “He killed it. Everyone was amazed by the effort he put in. He was fifth overall, which was a really strong performance by him.
“It was also the first time Dominique has finished the road race; it’s a tough race. Finishing seventh was brilliant.”
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