By Ron Shillingford
Jerome Ameline’s reputation as a fierce competitor is renowned, shown by the manic way he raced to win the Pedal 2 the Point event last month even though it was supposedly a leisurely charity ride. Burning pride does not allow him to settle for second best.
It was the third consecutive time Ameline won the event and although the 42-year-old Frenchman is not so committed to training at the moment because of other commitments, the competitive spirit has not diminished in the slightest.
“I’ve had other commitments for this year, spent more time with my family and working on my house,” Ameline said. “Competing in cycling requires quite a lot of time, 15 hours per week and I’m doing only half of that.”
He raced twice in the U.S. last year, including the Georgia grand prix for five days in June with Mitch Smith, finishing fourth in his category, and for three days in Tallahassee with good results too.
“The race I really wanted to win this year (even if it is not officially a race) was Pedal 2 the Point. I decided to not focus on the May Classics this year, and just see what happens.”
After race 2 of the May Classics, Ameline is fourth overall. “I am planning to give my best in the 10-mile time trial this Sunday from Bodden Town police station and hope to catch up on points for a better overall placing.
“Steve Abbott will be my main opponent. He is quite fit right now – even if he claims that he is not. He did a brilliant race last Sunday in the 57-mile road race.”
Ameline hopes to finish the May Classics in second place overall behind either Michael Testori or Pedro Lopez Ramos. In the last 10 years of May Classics Ameline has either finished first or second, missing on the 2010 series because of a bad crash.
“After the May Classics I will do a bit of training to try to claim again the title of Time Trial Cayman champion,” he said. “I also have a training camp booked in France in early August for one week which I will do with my sister. We used to race together 30 years ago, and she still rides too. She lives in Paris.”
Ameline has seen the cycling scene escalate in the last few years. Being the owner of Revolutions Indoor Cycling business, that is not a bad thing. “I’ve sold quite a lot of racing bikes in the last few years. Lots of people training for the annual Cayman triathlon have purchased bikes and are participating in some of the cycling association’s races and different charity rides like Kiwani, Pedal 2 the Point, Paws ride, Lions club ride, Peter Ribben Water Authority ride and lots of others.”
Ameline arrived in Cayman in May 2002 and has been a Caymanian since 2014. Since opening Revolutions in 2006 he has seen it thrive. “It is doing very good right now, the attendances are at its highest,” he said. “I’ve just finished a class today with 25 people. We have a new special class called HIIT (high intensity interval training) which brings competitive cyclists in the room and people wanting an extra challenge.
“We offer 11 classes weekly with four teachers so the students have different options. Revolutions is not ready to retire!”
Ameline monitors the upcoming Tour de France and the professional scene generally. He said: “The pro cycling scene is very exciting this year again, the Giro d’Italia is on right now, and I will be very excited to follow the Tour de France early July.
“Drugs will always be a subject in high intensity sports like cycling. As long as there is competition and rewards, there will always be some cheating, it has been on and on since the Tour de France was first created in 1903. I have been sticking to my red wine diet for the last 20 years, and it seems to work for me, at least for my level of competitiveness!”
Ameline is content to mix it with Cayman’s best riders. “There are two new guys in the cycling scene now ready to take over from the old guys like me, Mitch, Steve Evans and Steve Abbott. They are Testori (23) and Ramos (27) who is very powerful and has been the Road Race Cayman Champion the last two years, I believe. They are both Caymanian, Michael works at Walkers and is the son of the Pappagallo owner, and Pedro lives in West Bay and has his own air conditioning business.”