Quartet set for Valley of the Sun
Four of the islands top riders will be competing in the largest race in Arizona, the Valley of the Sun Stage Race, which starts tomorrow.
Kaden Hopkins, Dominique Mayho, Caitlin Conyers and Nicholas Narraway will be on the start line in their respective categories; Hopkins and Mayho in the Men's Pro 1, Conyers in the Women's Pro 1 and Narraway in the Junior 17 to 18 category, with the first event a 14-mile individual time-trial.
This is followed by the road race on Saturday, which will involve the Pro 1 men racing over a six lap 94-mile event, while the Pro 1 Women and Junior 17 to 18, tackle four laps totaling 62 miles in distance.
The final stage is a downtown criterium in Phoenix, on a tight one mile loop that will have Hopkins and Mayho racing for 60 minutes, Conyers, 40 minutes and Narraway 45 minutes.
With the Valley of the Sun Stage Race being based on overall cumulative time, riders are required to complete each stage to move forward in the competition. There are 85 entries in the Men Pro 1, 46 in the Women Pro 1 and 80 in the Junior 17 to 18.
It will be their first major test, especially for Hopkins and Mayho, who will travel to Dominican Republic along with Conor White to form part of a Caribbean composite team to race in the seven-day Vuelta Independencia Nacional this month, an event that Hopkins completed last year.
The Bermudian trio will be joined by Julian Molina, Julian Otero and Brian Leon, all of Puerto Rico, as a result of a development project between the Bermuda Bicycle Association and the Puerto Rico Cycling Federation. For Mayho, this weekend represents the perfect opportunity to get back into racing rhythm and prepare for the Vuelta Independencia Nacional, where he is aiming to secure a stage victory, having missed the event last year through injury.
“It's the first time in three years I've trained properly and I feel a lot better than I have before; it feels good to be competing again,” Mayho, one of the island's top men's cyclists, said.
“This weekend will be about trying to get back into the rhythm of racing and having some preparation ahead of the Vuelta Independencia Nacional.
“We've linked up with some Puerto Rico riders and I think we've got a pretty good team with different strengths.
“We'll base our tactics off the strengths of each rider so for the sprint races the others will try and help me, where as in the climbs I'll do all I can to support one of the others.
“On a personal level, I'd love to win a stage.
“Obviously, it's all about team tactics and I'm happy to support the guys all I can on a climb and then fade away. However, if I feel like I've got a chance in the sprint then I want to win, that's always the goal.”