US impedes cyclists from competing in Cuba
- Submitted by: admin
- 02 / 07 / 2007
The US administration has once again blocked US athletes from participating at a competition in Cuba, this time the 32nd Vuelta a Cuba bicycle race. Jose Pelaez, president of the Cuban Cycling Federation, told Granma that the US team of cyclists in the under 23 category was invited to compete along with other organizations from around the world. Pelaez, who is also president of the Pan American Cycling Confederation, said he received a message Monday afternoon that stated: "Dear friend [referring to Pelaez], unfortunately our team can not travel to Cuba. I just spoke with Washington and they told me they need six weeks to provide a visa to travel to Cuba. For some unknown reason our trainer didnt advise us of this problem until last Wednesday."
The letter, signed by Shawn Farrell, technical director of United States Cycling, thanked Cuba for the invitation "and everything you did to help our team."
The 32nd Vuelta a Cuba is set to take place from February 13 to 15. Back in 2003, US cyclist Todd Herriot won the yearly event. He was the sixth foreigner and the first from the United States to win the competition.
The United States has maintained a blockade on Cuba for nearly a half century. One of its provisions is a travel ban on US citizens from visiting the island or participating in academic, sports, scientific and other exchanges.