AFTER taking part in over three months of international travel and competition, Nicholas Paul (Central Spokes) still had enough fuel in his tank to capture the National Track Cycling Championships Men’s Sprint title when day-one action pedalled off on Wednesday.
At the National Cycling Centre, in Couva, Paul lined up against fellow Tokyo-bound athlete Kwesi Browne (Arima Wheelers) in the trophy race as the friendly rivals locked horns for the highly anticipated sprint final.
In the first race, the pair displayed trickery along the track, toying with each other in the opening lap. Browne then attempted an early charge on the penultimate lap but was soon overtaken by Paul, who executed perfectly to go one-up.
Into the second race, the Flying 200m world-record holder stuck closer to his opponent, opting to maintain an early lead. With just over one lap to go, Paul shifted gears and exploded, leaving Browne trailing some distance behind while the 21-year old pedalled to his second TT elite sprint title in fine style.
Before their performance in the final, Paul got past Evolution Academy’s Michael Ackee while Browne defeated Team DPS’ Quincy Alexander. In the third-place ride, Ackee tried to pull a fast one on Alexander by speeding off at the sound of the bell in the second race.
Having won the opening ride, Alexander observed Ackee’s early theatrics and maintained his composure. After such an energetic burst, Ackee used most of his power to control his slim lead. Alexander would have none of it, however, and cruised to victory on the final lap while Ackee received a resounding response from the small, entertained crowd for his valiant effort.
Additionally, Paul also topped the field in the Under23 Men Sprints as Ackee and Darius Beckles (Evolution Academy) rounded off the top-three finishers.
Meanwhile, Rigtech Sonics’s D’Angelo Harris also showed good form in the junior division when he defeated Ryan D’Abreau in two-straight rides to capture the Sprint title. In the women’s junior division, Makayla Hernandez (Madonna Wheelers) and Sylese Christian (PSL) were the top sprint finishers respectively.
PSL’s Jabari Whiteman rode valiantly throughout four Elite Men/Under-23 Omnium events – Scratch Race, Tempo Race, Elimination and Points Race – to be crowned national champion. He totalled 159 points and was trailed by Maurice Burnette (DPS) and Kemp Orosco (DPS) respectively.
The action continues at the Velodrome on Thursday and Friday from 7pm while the final set of races pedal off on Saturday from 5pm and on Sunday from 3pm.