Born in 1976, Barry Forde has been cycling competitively since the age of ten.
In 1992, at the young age of 16, Barry Forde competed at the Barbados National Championships and excelled; becoming the BMX Match Spirit Champion, the 100 Kilometre Champion, and the Pursuit Champion.
In the same year, Forde also became the BMX champion at the Caribbean BMX Championships.
Following this tremendous success, Forde started to make tracks on the international stage. He dedicated himself to his cycling, with the belief that he could take the world by storm. And this young Barbadian did just that.
In 1996, while only 20 years old, Forde competed at the International Cycling Union World Small Country Championships in Cuba, where he won two Gold Medals for both the Match Sprint and the Keirin.
This was the platform for Forde to launch his international career. In 1998, he went to Venezuela where he won Gold Medal Match Spirit at the Central American & Caribbean Games Sprint Championship.
He also jetted off to Malaysia where he won the Bronze Medal for the Match Spirit at the Commonwealth Games; and finally, Forde hit Europe and won the Silver medal match sprint at the Grande Prix Hanover in Germany.
His favorable racing tally continued to mount, and at 22 Forde conquered the Barbados International Cycling Classic and the Pan American Games in Canada.
From 1999 to 2005 Forde continued to peddle his way to success all around the world, in such races as:
» The Commonwealth Games in Manchester
» The Grand Prix in Scotland
» The UCI Track World Cup in Mexico
» The Olympic Games, Athens, Greece
And that is just to name a few!
Without doubt Barry Forde is one of the best cyclists Barbados has ever produced; however, in November 2005 the unthinkable happened – Barry tested positive for testosterone usage.
At the time Barry was taking medication which could have affected the drugs test, and the Barbados Cycling Union (BCU) decided that there was insufficient evidence to prove a doping violation and therefore decided against imposing any penalties on Forde.
However, the International Cycling Union did not accept the BCU explanation and referred the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who then banned Forde from cycling for two years and two months.
Fortunately, for the whole of the cycling world, Forde is now back in the saddle and is racing again. As soon as his ban was over, the world watched to see if he could regain his former glory – and straightaway he achieved 3rd in the Keirin in the 3rd UCI World Cup Classics in Columbia.
Unfortunately for Forde, his return to cycling has not gone as smoothly as hoped, and in September 2010 he was embroiled in yet another drug testing saga.
Despite his urine test initially being given a negative result, the decision was later changed to that of a positive outcome, with all the ramifications that would follow.
On hearing this, Forde decided to retire from competitive cycling, and on March 25th, 2011 Forde issued the following statement:
“I would like to announce that effective March 25, 2011, I have officially advised the Barbados Cycling Union of my retirement from the sport of cycling. I have relinquished Licence #001 which was issued to me by the Barbados Cycling Union and under which I have represented Barbados in the international track cycling arena since 1996.
Again, on the eve of a significant cycling competition, I find myself once again accused by the International Cycling Union of having committed an anti-doping violation.
The facts are that on September 21, 2010, doping control officials presented themselves to me and advised that they were collecting samples for EPO testing.
On that day and at the same time, I provided both blood and urine samples. In the interim, I competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India in October. I had also registered for competition in UCI World Cups slated for Cali in December 2010, Beijing in January 2011, and Manchester in February 2011.
The test results subsequently posted on ADAMS stated that the blood result was “negative”; the urine result stated “no result.”
On March 10, 2011, I was informed by the UCI that the lab analysis report they received on November 23, 2010, indicated that the urine sample had tested positive for recombinant EPO.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I have not now, or at any time, committed any anti-doping violation in pursuit of my sporting career.
I returned to international competition on March 1, 2008, after serving a sanction of two years and two months which was the result of a battle I fought to try and prove my innocence of an anti-doping violation leveled at me in 2005.
Since returning to the sport, I have monitored my every activity, to the point of paranoia, to avoid any recurrence. It would seem that all my efforts were in vain.
Over the last several days I have consulted extensively with medical and legal experts with substantial experience dealing with such issues in the sporting arena.
I have also consulted with my management team and others who know who I am and who have always given me the benefit of their sound advice.
While my instinct is to fight this latest accusation, I have come to terms with the fact that as far as this system is concerned, not only am I already considered guilty but also I will never be able to prove my innocence.
From very early on in my career I was exposed to the reality of what I was up against, coming from a small country like Barbados and competing at the international elite level of track cycling.
To me, it feels like a decision has been made somewhere that I do not belong in this sport. I have therefore decided to leave while I can still do so under my power, and while I’m still young enough and motivated enough to chart a new path for my life.
I wish to thank my family for their unswerving support over the years as I could not have achieved anything without them. Heartfelt thanks also to everyone in and out of Barbados who hung in there with me through thick and thin, and who continue to offer me support and encouragement.
There are many people and things from whom and which I’ve drawn inspiration over the years. As I begin a new chapter in my life, I find that my mind is turned to the second verse of the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, which so accurately describes my present state of mind. The approach I have adopted through all my ups and downs and which I will continue to take as I move forward:
“In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody but unbowed.”
Despite this sad loss of Barry Forde to the world’s cycling circuit, Forde has already inspired a fresh generation of young Barbadians who are ready and willing to learn from one of the world’s top athletes. And with the personal tuition of Forde, we can see a bright future for Barbadian cycling.
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.