St. John’s Antigua- Female cyclist and 2011 sportswoman of the year, Tamiko Butler, is slated to leave for Venezuela on Friday where she will contest a series of races being hosted by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
The rider will contest four road races in hopes of accumulating valuable points that could see her qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.
She will face tough opposition from other riders as she competes in the Clasico Aniversario de la Federacion Venezolana de Ciclismo, Copa Federacion Venezolana de Ciclismo Corre por la Vida, Copa Ciudad de Valencia and the Clasico Ciudad de Valencia.
Speaking with OBSERVER Sports, Butler explained that she would be riding as part of a pro-team throughout the event.
“They account for UCI points which is like world ranking points so it is kind of part of world tours and I was invited to be part of a pro-team which is Colivita in collaboration with ESPNW so I will be riding with two women from Canada and two from the USA on this pro-team for the four races and this will be the first time I am racing for these events,” she said.
As for her chances at the highly competitive event, Butler said she is hoping to garner at least a top five finish during one of the four races.
“I have been working extremely hard along with my coach from Canada on a plan for these races and really my aim for these races is to try and hit a top five in at least one of them. One of my downfalls at the moment in these types of races is my lack of experience within a big pack of women riders,” Butler said.
“Here of course, I am accustomed to maybe 30 riders and I am racing with men, but there I am looking at a start line of 70 women so there are four races that are pretty much back-to-back so I can take each race as it comes and whatever mistakes I make I can buck up in the next one and hopefully get a top five finish in one of the races.”
The Team Terminix rider thanked a number of people and businesses that have contributed towards her planned trip to Venezuela.
“I would like to thank the cycling association (which has) actually helped me to get to this event; also my team, Team Terminix, as well as Frank B Armstrong with Lucozade Sport but via Frank B Armstrong. Galley Bay is also coming on board with sponsorship for me as well, and shades,” she said.
Butler needs to get within the top 40 in points in order to qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games slated for July 27 to August 12.