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Former Champ Takes Aim At CFB

Former Champ Takes Aim At CFB
April 26
21:46 2019

Thursday, April 25th, 2019 –
As if the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic results were not embarrassment enough, Belize’s less than impressive performance was swiftly followed by hard-hitting criticism from no less that one of the race’s top competitors and former two-time champion and those remarks were aimed squarely at the Cycling Federation of Belize.

Justin Williams, one of the favourites going into the race, took to Facebook after the event to vent his frustration with what he felt were unfair rules imposed against him and his brother, Cory Williams, who also rode in the race.
Williams shared that he and Cory come to Belize every year to represent their family and friends and that the race has been a part of them since childhood.

“We…can’t help but feel slighted by the Cycling Federation of Belize. So, we will not be returning to the Cross Country Classic in 2020 if the Cycling Federation of Belize doesn’t allow us to bring a team to help us fight for the Garland. We will no longer take on the burden of trying to win with unfair odds,” Williams wrote, explaining that they have encountered problems before.

“Every year it’s something else. Now Cory & I don’t qualify for Belizean prizes because our license doesn’t say BIZ, but we are still held by the standard that Belizean teams are. (Cory and I) cannot have foreign riders on their team. I still haven’t seen some of my prizes from my first (2015) and second (2018) Cross Country Championships including the land I was promised. So enough is enough,” Williams summed up – his anger and frustration evident.

This is not the first time that a top-ranking cyclist has come out swinging against the Federation. Veteran cyclist and sponsor of C-Ray cycling team, Ray Cattouse has criticized the Federation in the past, as has his daughter, three-time Female Cross Country Cycling champ, Kaya Cattouse. Joining them since Williams’ controversial post this week was also former Government Minister and businessman, Santino Castillo.

“I do agree with the Williams brothers’ gripe against the Cycling Federation, which is pretty much the same sentiments of Bill Elliston. They should be allowed a 4-man team as most invitees are once they meet the Non-Professional Criteria,” Castillo wrote on his own Facebook page. He pointed out that Justin and Cory are currently Belize’s best cyclists and should not be short-changed.

But the Cycling Federation of Belize responded to the comments, clarifying that the Williams brothers should not be registered as Belizean riders based on their nationality. “The status of Justin and Cory Williams as it relates to their nationality was erroneous from the very first time they were allowed to participate in Belize as Belizeans in the 2006 Junior National Championships. For all intents and purposes they are classified and recognized as American citizens with parents who were born in Belize,” the Federation wrote.

The response, which came in the form of several documents, included letters showing that the Federation made attempts to have the brothers register internationally as Belizean cyclists after they received their Belizean passports in 2014, but say the brothers have refused to do so, presumably because of the vast opportunities they have as US registered cyclists. To bolster its position, the Federation also pointed out that Justin Williams is the current amateur US National Criterium Champion, and is also on the list of prospects being considered to ride as part of the US National Team in the Amgen Tour of California. That race is scheduled from May 12-18. It would be the first time a US national team would be allowed to ride in the race, which began in 2006.

Regarding the parcel of land that Justin wrote about as one of his prizes for winning the 2015 Cross Country championship but which he has not collected, the Federation says that the President of the Federation liaised with Justin up to last year, and arranged “many meetings with the Minister of Lands to complete the process. The last meeting that was arranged was for his dad and mom as Justin had indicated that he wanted the land to be in his mother’s name. As far as we know, they never attended the meeting.”

And lastly, as for cash prizes that were due to Justin, the Federation states that after the conversion from Belize to US dollars was worked out, they paid out all of Justin’s cash prizes, as per his instructions, to Glen Flowers and David Henderson.

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