AFTER SUFFERING severe leg cramps during his final representation of the red, white and black as a National cyclist throughout the early stages of the 117km Caribbean Elite Road Championships Men’s Road Race in Barbados on Sunday, Emile Abraham expressed some regret at the disappointing way in which it ended, but still held his head high as he rode off into the sunset culminating an illustrious 30-year career.
Speaking after the challenging race, the 41-year old endurance specialist admitted that sweltering heat along the course did in fact play a part in his exit. Riding alongside compatriots Joshua Alexander, Sheldon Ramjit and Akil Campbell, Abraham looked good in the opening rounds and was among the five leading riders approaching the seventh lap. However, the experienced but weary muscles of the multiple National champion soon began to rebel, which forced the 2013 and 2014 Caribbean Road Race runner-up to pull out the race.
“It was very hot but I started off in the front group,” explained the former Rossetti Devo Cycling Team manager and cyclist.
“Joshua Alexander made the first break for the first couple laps and that put me in a good position, because I didn’t have to do the work and was able to just sit back and stay with the leaders. I stayed with the front group for a couple laps and I started to get into a little bit of difficulty with the heat and so forth and I lost the front group and had to chase back on, which I did.” He continued, “Then the following lap after that, I ended up going on the offence and I attacked. With a small group of four, and 30 seconds up, that really put me in the gutter. The next lap around I started cramping and that was the end of my day,” said a clearly upset Abraham.
Abraham has now stood down from all further major international competition, but will still get some race time along the American circuit. He is also currently working with an Under-25 team in the US, and is deeply intent on getting them to the Tour de France within the coming years.
“Maybe I’ll do some Masters (events) but nothing at the high level that I have been doing for the last 30 years,” he added.
“This is my fourth Caribbean Road Championships and I had a fourth and two silvers. It’s really disappointing with this being my last time here that I was unable to finish. But, I know I had a good reign over the last 20 years and I represented Trinidad and Tobago for 23 of the 30 years I competed.
I’ve always been proud of representing red, white and black wherever I went, and I’m really happy that everyone gave me the support in what I have done and now it’s just on to another chapter.” After a tough UCI Tour of Tobago and a similar Caribbean Road Championships, Abraham held in high regard the competitive progression of the region’s endurance riders.
He concluded, “Caribbean cycling has come a long way with respect to the riders and their abilities to be able to compete against each other and the rest of the world. I’m really happy to see the Caribbean and all the officials who have contributed towards the Caribbean Championships to make this what it is.
We need these kind of competition and games so the riders are able to race against themselves without outside interference. I’m also happy to see the UCI (International Cycling Union) is fully on board to support Caribbean cycling. This is why it has grown.”