Bermuda’s four-medal haul in Santo Domingo has rivals’ tongues wagging
Peter Dunne praised cyclists Caitlin Conyers, Conor White, Nicholas Narraway and Kaden Hopkins for putting Bermuda firmly on the map after clinching a medal haul from the combined Pan American and Caribbean Cycling Championships.
The Bermudian contingent left Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Sunday having once again punched well above their weight against some of the region’s powerhouses, to claim two gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Conyers led the medal charge, again outlining her prowess as one the Caribbean region’s standout female cyclists, to finish third in the Elite Women’s road race in the Caribbean Championships, while also going on to storm to gold in the time-trial.
There was also gold-medal delight for White, who blitzed his way to glory in the Caribbean Championships time-trial, narrowly ahead of compatriot Narraway as the Bermudian duo claimed the top two steps of the podium.
Not only did White claim gold, but he also secured Bermuda a qualification spot at the prestigious Junior Pan American Games, scheduled to held in Cali, Colombia, from November 25 to December 4.
“It was just an amazing few days with a bunch of incredible results,” said Dunne, the president of the Bermuda Bicycle Association. “To finish up with two gold medals, a silver and bronze was an amazing performance from the team and from my point of view, it was amazing to watch.
“I felt 7ft tall walking around because I was just so proud. There were so many massive nations involved and little old Bermuda come away with four medals.
“It’s just so exciting to see these guys perform so highly at that level and have Bermuda collecting medals.”
That medal tally could yet to be added to further, with Dunne and Hopkins waiting on a decision from an official appeal after a ruling denied the 21-year-old an impressive silver medal in the Pan American Under-23 Time-Trial.
Having finished just a second off the race-winning time, Hopkins’s bike was adjudged to have fallen foul of racing rules on grounds of technical specifications.
“In my mind we actually won five medals because Kaden had an amazing race in the and rightfully finished second,” Dunne said. “However, they decided that his bike didn’t meet technical specifications and failed to fall within the rules.
“We’ve appealed the decision and have to wait for the ruling. Not only has he lost out on the medal, but also valuable ranking points and what we believe would have been automatic qualification for the Junior Pan American Games.
“Whatever the decision, Kaden can rightfully be proud of his performance because he’s competed in that higher Pan American level and come away a second from winning.”
The cyclists having once again impressed on the international stage, Dunne believes they have further added to Bermuda’s ever-growing reputation as one of the region’s shining lights in the sport.
“Overall we came out of this incredibly well,” he said/ “It was such a phenomenal performance from the team and really puts the nation firmly on the map.
“People definitely took notice of the performances and I even had people coming up to me afterwards from other countries in our region asking if they could send people over to Bermuda to train with us. Our cyclists, and what is happening in Bermuda, is certainly being looked at.
“Within the Caribbean region, we as a nation have had some real standout performances in recent years but what these guys continue to do has made some big nations stand up and recognise what we are achieving.”
That recognition promises to continue in the coming years with the next crop of burgeoning talent, Liam Flannery and Alexander Miller, primed to follow their compatriots’ pathway.
“The really promising thing for me is that we have other riders like Liam Flannery and Alexander Miller set to come through and continue what has already been out in place,” said Dunne.
“By the next Vuelta Independencia race series next year, we could have a national team made up of five or six riders. That’s really encouraging to have that depth of quality. And the most exciting thing about that is that all those guys will still be under the age of 23.”