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BARBADOS - cycling 2007
Date September 09, 2007
Compliments of the Nation News
Stories by PHILIP SPOONER
BARRY FORDE will have a long, hard ride ahead of him over the next ten months if he is to make it to the 2008 Summer Olympics.
As a matter of fact, it looks like "mission impossible" for the island's top cyclist in his hot pursuit to get to Beijing China for the Games which open on "8-8-8" - August 8, 2008.
That's the cold, hard truth coming from Steve Stoute, president of the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA), who yesterday noted that Forde would need a near "miracle" to return to his former glory and fulfil his dream of an Olympic medal.
"It is going to be very difficult and a really tough task to qualify for Beijing in 2008," Stoute said as he responded to a question from SUNSPORT.
"It would be a tremendous effort after a lay-off of close to two years to make a comeback after the ban is lifted in the first quarter of next year. We are hopeful, because, of course, he would be one of our medal hopes in the event he was able to qualify. The BOA will be monitoring the situation rather carefully."
Forde was at one stage the leading rider in the Americas but was banned for using performance-enhancing drugs.
He is presently training in Germany. Forde, the only Barbadian rider to have won a medal at the Commonwealth Games, tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone/epitestosterone with a ratio of 8.1 - way above the normally accepted level of 4.0.
Stoute was speaking yesterday morning after the opening day of the Caribbean Junior Cycling Championships on the ABC Highway. He also noted that Forde cannot receive funding from the BOA because of the ban.
"In a scenario where an athlete has been banned for drug use, the international community has come together to indicate funding cannot be provided by the national olympic committee and funding cannot be provided by the Government," he said.
"I understand that Forde is keeping fit and is training and is hoping to make it to the Olympics. It is a very difficult situation for him. When you are banned, riders are not permitted to train with you either, but I know he is working to keep fit."
Forde was on top of his game between 2002 and 2005. He was a sixth-place finisher in the match sprint at the 2004 Olympics. In 2003 he won two gold medals at the Pan American Games. He also won a silver medal at the World Cycling Championships in 2005.
Please see also Pages 8B and 9B.
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