MEN’S Flying 200m world record holder, Nicholas Paul, finished ninth in the Men’s Sprint event on day-three of the Tissot International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cup which climaxed at the Hong Kong, Velodrome, China, on Sunday.
Paul qualified with the fifth fastest time (9.766 seconds) of the 20 advancing riders while compatriot Keron Bramble (10.143 seconds) did not make the cut. Against Kiwi Callum Saunders in the 1/16 final, Paul rode valiantly to overcome his opponent and then locked horns with Japanese Tomoyuki Kawabata in the 1/8 final. Kawabata though, proved too much for the three-time Pan American champion, who was forced to settle for ninth overall.
Pedalling to gold in the all-Dutch final was number one UCI-ranked sprinter, Harry Lavreysen, ahead of countryman and second UCI-ranked Jeffrey Hoogland. Additionally, Tomohiro Fukaya (Japan) went on to grab bronze by trumping Mateusz Rudyk (Poland) in straight rides.
However, Paul’s still credible performance saw him earn a precious 250 UCI points towards his Olympic individual sprint campaign.
Meanwhile, TT’s Kwesi Browne was unable to advance to the second stage of Men’s Keirin competition.
In the first round, Browne missed out on automatic qualification after placing second behind dominant Dutchman, Lavreysen. He was then forced to contest the repechage but could only produce a repeat performance, needing pole position to advance.
On Friday, the national squad of Paul, Browne and two-time Olympian Njisane Phillip, placed eighth in the Men’s Team Sprint event by clocking 43.966 seconds, setting a new seal level national record.
The squad, led by veteran TT coach Erin Hartwell, now shift focus towards this weekend’s UCI World Cup fourth staging (December 6-8) in Cambridge, New Zealand. The talented quartet will compete in the same events in search of more points towards affirming a spot at the 2020 Summer Games.
One week later, the team travel to Brisbane, Australia, to conclude its 2019 competitive campaign at the fifth World Cup. If ample Olympic qualifier points are attained, the national squad may choose to sit out the final World Cup leg in Milton, Canada, from January 24-26, and focus their energies on the dawning 2020 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin, Germany, from February 26 – March 1.