TT’s Nicholas Paul shattered the world record, in the flying 200 metres yesterday at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships, in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Paul blazed across the line in a time of 9.100 seconds, breaking France’s Francois Pervis’ 2013 record of 9.347 seconds. He also broke his own Pan American record of 9.378 seconds which he set in Mexico in 2018.
He then faced compatriot Quincy Alexander in the 1/8 final, winning in 11.405 seconds to advance to the quarter finals. Last evening, he defeated Canada’s Nick Wammes in two straight rides to advance to today’s semi-final round. However, teammate Keron Bramble was unable to book a place in the last four after losing to Colombia’s Kevin Quintero in the quarter-final phase.
Paul was also part of the TT team that won gold in the men’s team sprint final on Wednesday, alongside Bramble and Njisane Phillip, clocking 41.938 seconds – the second fastest on record.
On Thursday night, Bramble also earned a medal for TT copping bronze in the men’s keirin final. Akil Campbell missed out on a medal, placing fourth in the men’s scratch event.
Legendary TT cyclist and three-time Pan American medallist Gene ‘Geronimo’ Samuel said he was “not surprised” at Paul breaking the world record. Samuel won gold at the 1991 Pan Am Games in Havana, Cuba, in the men’s 1,000m time trial event. He said he is proud of the team.
Speaking with Newsday yesterday afternoon, he said, “We’ve been doing very good, not just recently but consistently over the last few years. I actually predicted a 9.1 was in the making – the exact result.
“We are glad he was able to keep the focus because it’s not easy going through those turns with that speed. I think we have a very good shot at qualifying for the Olympics but time will tell.”
He also praised the team’s coach, Erin Hartwell, describing him as a “very professional” coach. Hartwell is a double Olympic time trial medallist for the US and a former world record holder. He began his tenure as national cycling technical director in 2017.
TT Cycling Federation president Larry Romany told Newsday he also expected Paul to break the record. He believes the athlete is “special.”
He said, “With the times he was showing in training, it showed that he was on track to do 9.1. It was a fantastic ride. It’s one thing to be able to predict somebody could ride or run that fast, but it’s another thing for them to do it.”
He said the result shows the quality of cyclists TT produce, and the work done by their coach Hartwell.
“No small mention must go to the coach. Cycling is extremely technical. You’re trying to make both man and machine and it takes some skill in order for them to come together with the type of unity that you see.
“It’s great that we have an athlete that was able to train in TT, race when he needed to race outside and put forward that kind of performance. This is the kind of reputation that cyclists live for.”
It has been an impressive season for Paul thus far as he also recently copped two gold medals at the recently concluded Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. He won the men’s individual and team sprints. He also won gold in the elite men keirin race at the Elite and Under-23 TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) National Track Cycling Championships in May.
Romany said, “We feel proud to know that a country of 1.3 million people could produce a world champion in a sport that is dominated by Europeans. This is a very proud day for me.”
The Championship began on September 4 and ends tomorrow.