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Two-time Cross Country Cycling Classic Champion, Belizean-American Justin Williams, suspended amid cycling controversy in USA

Posted: Saturday, September 16, 2023. 6:02 am CST.

By Horace Palacio: Belizean-American cyclist Justin Williams, who clinched victory at the Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic in Belize in both 2015 and 2018, faces a two-month suspension following a contentious event during the Audi Denver Littleton Criterium. This marks another blotch on the record of the L39ION of Los Angeles co-founder, having been suspended previously in consecutive years.

The uproar stems from an in-race video, now viral on social media platforms, depicting Williams performing a perilous move in a left turn. This led to a collision with Thomas Gibbons of the Automatic-ABUS Racing team. As a result, both riders were sent sprawling. But the dust didn’t settle there; what followed was a fervent verbal dispute, prompting USA Cycling to step in, ultimately resulting in the levying of fines and the announcement of Williams’ suspension.

Scheduled from April 5 to June 2, 2024, Williams’ impending suspension comes at a time when he would have been expected to participate in pivotal events, including races in the southeastern US Speedweek series, notably the Athens Twilight Criterium and Sunny King Criterium under the umbrella of the American Criterium Cup (ACC).

The decision, however, has not gone uncontested. Lauren Dodge, the spearhead of the Automatic-ABUS Racing team, voiced her reservations about the suspension’s perceived leniency, citing USA Cycling’s own regulations which stipulate a more stringent penalty for intentional harm.

Williams’ journey on the cycling track has not been devoid of roadblocks. In 2022, he faced a five-month suspension stemming from an altercation post a Salt Lake City race. In this incident, he rose to defend his brother, Cory Williams, against members of the Best Buddies team.

Yet, Williams’ presence remains significant in the realm of competitive cycling. With the recent unveiling of the Circuit Racing International Tour (CRIT), aimed at championing elite cycling in major US cities, his influence is palpable. The cloud of the 2024 suspension, however, casts uncertainty over his role in the inaugural CRIT Championship, anticipated on October 21 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The sport, while grappling with these controversies, remains in the limelight, highlighting the intricate balance between competition and conduct. Williams’ saga underscores the delicate equilibrium cycling seeks to maintain, pushing the community towards reflection and potential reforms.

 

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