Panama City.- Little by little there is less movement of bicycles in the Hotel EL Panama. The farewells of athletes, coaches, federations always carry with them the logical exchange of seeing each other very soon in other fairs of the cranks and pedals. The Pan American Championship concluded this Sunday and has left a lot of legacy for this Central American nation, the first to organize a contest of this category.
The head of the Pan American Cycling Confederation (COPACI), José Manuel Peláez, has had intense days in terms of organization, not only of the event, but of the COPACI Congress. No one better than him for a final evaluation of what happened and some exclusives that come with the closure. He settles into the seat and is ready to answer.
What would be the first thing to highlight about this first Pan American Cycling Championship in Panama, which concluded this Sunday?
“The organization of the Panamanian Cycling Federation (FEPACI), at the head of which Vicente Carretero has achieved an efficient team, which met all international standards for these events. I must also acknowledge the support of the sports authorities of this country, which together with FEPACI allowed us to have two cycling events in less than 15 days, first the Central American and then the Pan American”.
Alongside the event was the presence of David Lappartient, president of the International Cycling Union (UCI). Any assessment shared with you by the head of the UCI?
“David Lappartient’s presence is common in our Congresses, only now he had several peculiarities, because in addition to teaching the UCI-Platform he went out to pedal with a good number of competing cyclists and the Panamanian people on April 20 in the morning .
“That marked him a lot, as he told me, and later in the Congress he highlighted the importance that cycling has acquired in Panama, while reiterating his confidence in COPACI as the oldest Confederation within the UCI.”
There were also previews of what will be the World Championship in Glasgow 2023.
“Yes, that will be a World Championship that for the first time will bring together all the modalities of cycling. More than 5,000 participants are expected. David Lappartient explained in detail everything that is expected and congratulated COPACI because it has already registered all its national federations, except one (Guyana).
“Likewise, the federations and coaches were able to clear up all doubts about the event and other aspects such as the Olympic Solidarity programs, date race and race safety.”
How does COPACI assess the competitive quality of the event?
“We had a high-quality championship. First of all, it should be noted that 11 nations out of the 32 present obtained medals in this Championship, five of them with titles. It is necessary to congratulate Colombia for winning the contest with the most titles. Likewise, it is necessary to recognize the notable progress of Chile with the second place, which shows that they are preparing for a good performance when they host the Pan American Games this year. And finally, congratulate the United States and Canada for obtaining the two Olympic places in competition in the women’s and men’s routes.
“I must also highlight the sustained progress of Ecuador, which here reached gold; as well as the push for results that nations such as Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Bermuda and Cuba have been having”.
Precisely in the case of Cuba, Carlos Daniel Montes de Oca was very impressive. What can we expect from this boy?
“It was perhaps one of the sensations of this Championship. Carlos Daniel fought until the end for the gold and greatly impressed all the technicians from America and guests from Europe. So much so that we are already in talks for a possible future inclusion in European cycling, because his talent is impressive and caused amazement and recognition in all ”.
This contest also offered quotas for the Pan American Games. How does that process go?
“Some had already been distributed in the Caribbean Championship in the Dominican Republic and the Central American Championship just finished here. Now others have been delivered, always under the maxim that in the time trial there is one quota per country, while on the road up to two per nation can be classified. Here we deliver six in the time trial and 13 in the route of both.
“I want to reiterate that the fight was very strong for the quality of the payrolls displayed here. Colombia, the United States and Canada came with world medalists and that shows that we celebrate a championship with the best cyclists in America, something that few disciplines can do today”.
Finally, the Iberian Cycling Union was also constituted where he was elected President.
“This happened before the COPACI Congress and is of notable importance for future projects, which will benefit many nations in the Americas. The honor of electing me for his presidency until 2027 is nothing more than an award extended for the work of COPACI. I also understand it as a recognition to Cuba, for everything we have done based on sport”.