Pan Am Games: Toronto cycling club donates $40K of equipment to Cuban athletes

Pan Am Games: Toronto cycling club donates $40K of equipment to Cuban athletes

A GTA cycling fan & former Pan Am Games medallist are teaming up to send several boxes of cycling gear to Cuba with that country's racers.

Lawrence Levin, who has accumulated approximately $40,000 worth of gear to send back to the communist island nation with the Cuban cycling team, said he was inspired to assist out after seeing the condition of the bikes promising young Cuban riders practice on.

"These are youth that are training to be at the Pan Am Games, they are training with tires that are beyond bald," Levin told CBC News.

"You can almost see the tubes through the tires."

The gear headed to Cuba includes tires, pedals, saddles & pretty much anything Levin could obtain his hands on.

Eon D'Ornellas, a former Olympian & Pan Am Games medallist who now owns a Scarborough bike shop, was a major assist in procuring some of that gear.

For D'Ornellas, it's effortless to picture the struggle Cuban riders face.

"I grew up in South America & I started as a guy, 14 years of age … I started riding a fixed wheel bike on the road & that's all I could afford at that time, so I know what it means when you have that kind of equipment when you want to compete," he said.

While cycling doesn't have costs like ice time or pool rentals, competing on the world stage is a pricey endeavour.

The carbon fibre bikes track cyclists are racing on at Milton's new velodrome during the Games easily run between $8,000 & $10,000, while helmets, speedsuits and other gear moreover costing hundreds.

Levin is moreover helping Cuban athletes at the Games, providing static rollers to the team so they can warm up before their races.

"They don't have any money to buy anything, so every single piece of equipment that's donated — absolutely everything — is used & is incredible appreciated," Levin said.

"I have to hope, of course, it doesn't donate them an edge over the Canadian athletes, yet we'll see what happens," he added.

Source: “CBC”

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