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Belizean cyclists trio race in Panama

A Belizean cycling trio, Henry Li and the Castro brothers Jafari and Wasani, now seek to build on the success they recently enjoyed in the MZ Tour in Progreso, Yucatan, on March 12-14 by testing their mettle in the Clásica RPC Radio Panama, a four-stage race to be held in Panama City on March 25-28. The three riders departed Belize on Tuesday to Guatemala City, and they arrived in Panama on Wednesday, March 24. They began competition with an 11-kilometer individual time trial, the Amador Grand Prix, ridden over a 3 kilometer circuit course on Thursday, March 25. They ride the Amador Labyrinth, a circuitous 2.1 kilometer course with many U-turns, in the second stage on Friday, March 26. The third stage is “The Knife”, a 45 kilometer criterium through the Metro Park – Twilight – 25 laps over a 1.8 km course on Saturday, March 27. The tour culminates in the Pope Francis Grand Prix on Sunday, March 28, when they ride 25 laps over a 3.3 km circuit course at the Metro Park, a total distance of 82.5 kilometers. The event attracts the best international riders from all over the region and has elite, masters, categories A, B, C and D and female categories, as well as a team category for groups of four to six riders. The Belizeans will only be competing as individuals, as they would need one more rider to qualify for the team event. Henry Li’s brother, Hao Cheng Lee, is doubling as team manager; he says they hope to recruit one more rider to form a new team, with the help of other sponsors to race in the United States, where they will challenge the U.S. summer criteria in June and July. He said they are building up experience and stamina in these first outings, with the hope of really hitting their stride this summer. They also plan to adopt a new team name and acquire team jerseys so the entire team can wear the same kit, which they were unable to do in their first outing in Yucatan a fortnight ago. The team plans to rest a day after the races, and head home on Tuesday, March 30.

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