Peter Dunne praises Bermuda contingent’s endeavours in Road World Championships
Peter Dunne, the president of the Bermuda Bicycle Association, was encouraged by the performances of Bermuda’s five-man team at the UCI Road World Championships which concluded over the weekend in Belgium.
Competing against the best riders in the world, under-23 trio Kaden Hopkins, Nicholas Narraway and Conor White finished off their participation on Friday in the 160-kilometre with Hopkins finishing 97th, Narraway 104th and White 136th.
In an equally demanding junior race, Liam Flannery placed 78th over the 121-km distance while Alexander Miller suffered a DNF after being pulled out of the race when he was lapped by the lead riders over the eight-lap course.
“Our cyclists performed beyond expectations,” said Dunne who accompanied the team. “While their finishing places were distant from the race winners, our team was impressively strong and attracted quite a bit of attention, both from the roadside fans and the television crew.
“Maybe it was the brilliant pink and blue team kit that stood out, but probably it was the fearless approach of our guys who were competing against the best in the world."
In the under-23 race, Hopkins, White and Narraway enjoyed great fanfare from Antwerp, complete with a team presentation on the stage in front of hundreds of spectators.
“Similar to the junior race, it started with a major pile-up which our guys avoided and then used to their advantage,” Dunne added. “As the officials neutralised the race to allow everyone to get back in, White found his way to the front of the peloton and then when the race recommenced he seized the opportunity to attack solo off the front. Commanding the TV attention for the next four kilometres, putting Bermuda in the spotlight.
“As the race proceeded to Leuven and then out to a circuit of typically Flandrian terrain, Team Bermuda was both active in the race and cheered on by the fans. All three riders finished the full distance which in itself is a major accomplishment.”
The under-23 race was won by Filippo Baroncini of Italy in 3min 37min 36sec while Biniam Girmay of Eritrea finished just two seconds behind in second place. Hopkins clocked a time of 3:47:52, some ten minutes behind the winner, while Narraway finished in 3:49:12 and White 3:53:55.
Per Strand Hagenes of Norway won the junior race in 2:43:48 with Romain Gregoire of France 19 seconds back in second place. Flannery was 11 minutes and five seconds behind the winner in 2:54:53. Dunne says it was a great experience for the Bermuda cyclists.
“For our under-23 and junior cyclists to be racing against this level of competition and to get through the full race is an amazing accomplishment,” Dunne said.
Earlier in the week the cyclists also competed in individual time trials, with Hopkins and White going up against a strong field over a 30.3 kilometre course.
Hopkins finished 48th in 37:21:36 while White was 50th in 37:36:96. Johan Price Pejterse of Denmark was the overall winner in a time of 34:29:75.
In the Junior time trial, Flannery and Miller gave personal best performances in the 22.30km event over a flat course. Flannery clocked 28:09 to finish 54th while Miller was 40 seconds behind in 65th place, in a time of 28:46. Gustav Wang of Denmark took the win in 25:37.
“The fact that we have these five riders capable of these results is reflective of where Bermuda cycling is at this point,” Dunne added.
“The depth of commitment required by the athletes to prepare for the event and get to this level is incredibly impressive and they will all leave Belgium with greater confidence in their abilities.
“Each of them has accomplished so much this week and for this they should be extremely proud,” Dunne said.
“From the BBA leadership, our board and executive committee extend their warmest congratulations to the team and look forward to the next opportunity for them to represent the country.”