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Friendships put to one side as Bermuda’s cyclists chase national title

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Conor White is back in the saddle in Bermuda

Blink and you just might miss them.

Bermuda’s professional cyclists are back on island to compete in the first of three national championships over the course of the next ten days.

The action starts tonight in and around Clearwater Beach in St David’s with the first rider setting off at 6pm, followed by others at intervals of one minute, with national titles handed out in a number of categories, from juniors aged 10 and under to masters aged 40 and older.

The road race then takes centre stage on Sunday morning before the Criterium Championships take place a week later.

A feature of these championships in recent years has been the intense rivalry between Conor White and Kaden Hopkins. Huge friends off the bike and fierce rivals on it, the pair are often closely matched in the time-trial.

Bermuda squad: from left, Kaden Hopkins, Nic Narraway, Gabriella Arnold and Conor White will be in action in national time-trial championship

White is looking to regain his time-trial title after winning it in 2022 but losing by 19 seconds last year and he places huge significance on the race.

“It’s always a big goal every year because to be able to wear the country’s flag at all the races when you go away is a big honour,” White said.

“I would like to win and I’m always aiming for it. I always come into the race fit and ready to go, so it’s always one of my big goals of the year to win the national title.

“My favourite discipline is definitely the time-trial and it’s where I’ve got the majority of my best international results. I like it because usually the best rider on the day wins whereas in other disciplines that doesn’t happen. I’m really looking forward to it.”

With Nicholas Narraway continuing to make significant progress and closing the gap on his two more experienced rivals. White is expecting another tight tussle

“It’s going to be tight, for sure, it always is between us,” White said.

“When we did the Caribbean Championships last year, after 30 minutes there was just 18 seconds between Me, Nic and Kaden, so it’s going to be close but I hope I can take the win.

“It’s all down to who has the better day. Kaden and I have both beaten each other on this course before. Last year, he was on top and the year before I came out on top and it will come down to who has the better day and who has the better legs.

“I hope that there is no traffic involved that can disrupt us. I know the road isn’t closed and is being marshalled. In the past there have been incidents where we have lost time because cars have been in the way. It would be unfortunate if that happens again but hopefully we can avoid that.”

Despite formally retiring from international competition at the end of the year, Bermuda’s most experienced cyclist Caitlin Conyers will be a hot favourite to retain her crown in the women’s race.

Conyers won last year’s time-trial by more than seven minutes from Panzy Olander but is expected to face some tougher competition this year with Gabriella Arnold returning to compete.

Arnold won gold in the time-trial at the 2023 Caribbean Championships and recently won a prestigious race on Cry Baby Hill in the United States and she is looking forward to taking on the reigning champion.

“I’m always excited to head back and race in Bermuda with Caitlyn,” Arnold said.

“She’s such a strong competitor and even though she’s away from racing she is a naturally gifted cyclist. She’s strong and she works hard so it’s always great to go back and be able to race with her at least.

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Published June 20, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated June 20, 2024 at 11:28 pm)

Friendships put to one side as Bermuda’s cyclists chase national title

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