Bermuda on a high after PanAmerican Championships
Peter Dunne has hailed the efforts of the Bermuda team at the PanAmerican Cycling Championships.
Bermuda’s Kaden Hopkins claimed bronze among a stellar Elite Men’s Time Trial field after finishing behind established Colombian pair Walter Alejan Vargas and Miguel Angel Lopez, the latter a multiple grand tour winner, including a Tour de France stage win in 2020.
That race also featured compatriot Conor White, who finished in an impressive sixth place, with both sealing their qualification for the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile, later this year, when they will get a chance to qualify for the Paris Olympics.
White also claimed a top-20 place in the Road Race, finishing nineteenth, while Caitlin Conyers and Gabby Arnold made their mark in the women’s races, with the former finishing eleventh in the Time Trial.
The championships also featured Nicholas Narraway and Liam Flannery gain valuable experience at a higher level, with both impressing to finish tenth and sixteenth respectively in the Time Trial and nineteenth and eleventh in the Road Race.
“We were the smallest nation at the Championships and when you look at the level of performance from the entire team and the fact that they were not only in the mix, but also recognised among much bigger nations, is an incredible achievement,” said Dunne, the president of the Bermuda Bicycle Association.
“On a personal view, I look at two channels to measure success; what individuals do and what the team has done to continue the development of the sport nationally.
“Both are equally as important to me and when I look at the championships we hit every button, including securing two qualifying spots for the Pan American Games, which is just fantastic.
“To have a Bermudian on the podium alongside two riders from the top end of world cycling and to gain that recognition internationally is very satisfying indeed. To also have spectators calling out for Bermuda, in a place like Panama, a long way from home, is thrilling to see and hear.
“This was such a high level of competition, it’s the equivalent of continental level, only world level is higher than this and so to perform they way they did is just a fantastic accomplishment, Bermuda cycling is certainly going in the right direction.”
While being delighted with the team’s endeavours, Dunne is adamant no one is resting on their laurels with preparations already taking place for the Caribbean Cycling Championships, which are scheduled to be held in Guadeloupe in November.
“From my point of view, I look at the continuation of developing Bermuda cycling as a whole and keeping the performances high,” added Dunne.
“We have already put a meeting in place for when the team are back together on island to look ahead to the Caribbean Championships and plan that next step in the team’s development.
“Obviously the guys are pursuing goals individually, but we also want them to have goals as a collective national team and so we have to have those aspirations working parallel to each other.
“We want to create that sense of national representation and make that a priority collectively.
“Having these discussions means we’re months ahead of time and that’s important because we want those plans firmly in place. The level won’t be as high as the Pan Am Games and so we want to go out there and be as highly successful as possible as a team.”