TT’s Olympic-bound cyclists Nicholas Paul and Kwesi Browne return to the National Cycling Centre, on Monday, to resume their Tokyo 2021 preparations.
The pair will continue their training stint under the long-distance guidance of Switzerland-based coach Craig MacLean. MacLean is currently at the World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle and will send training programmes for the duo until the border reopens for international travel.
It is the intention of the TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) to swiftly return Paul and Browne to the WCC to ensure they receive hands-on and elite pre-Olympic training at the state-of-the-art facility.
Once the borders are reopened, the pair will acquire their respective Dutch Schengen visas and fly en route to the Swiss nation to officially restart their Olympic prep.
MacLean was selected by the TTCF, in February, to take charge of our Olympic journey after the unexpected exit of then national coach Erin Hartwell.
After over three months away from the track due to the global pandemic, the talented pair is eager to return to training and proceed with their Tokyo preparations.
“I’ve been training all along but it would be nice to return to doing the real track work. I’m happy to be able to get going again after such a lengthy time off it,” said Paul.
Since the implementation of stay-at-home restrictions by the TT Government in mid-March, the sprint cyclist was forced to limit his training to indoors. Paul maintained his physical form by using a home gym and personal trainer (indoor stationary bike).
As TT gradually eased its restrictions on public movement, the sprint cyclist then took to the roads for some outdoor training.
While Paul is happy for the additional time to prepare, his efforts, according to him, must be increased to stay abreast with the competitive progress of other top-ranked international contenders.
“We will have to work double as hard because they’re (international cyclists) already at a high standard. So with their resources, they are also getting more time to get ready and prep, we have to work double as hard to get up to that standard. I’m anxiously awaiting to return to Switzerland as well.
“More time is always good because there are always things we have to improve on. It’s just to go back to the drawing board, return to the track and work on my weaknesses to get stronger, fitter and faster. We need to, to be able to compete against the best in the world,” Paul added.
Meanwhile the International Cycling Union (UCI) has not yet released its revised track calendar due to the uncertainty of the global pandemic. As it stands there are no major confirmed forthcoming track meets for cyclists to gauge their progress thus far.
The Olympic debutant Paul believes training remains his primary focus as he, and Browne, gears up for a hectic 12 months of training ahead of peak season at the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo.
“The best I can do right now is to go back to training to keep strong, fit and focus. Once I prep in the best possible way, I go to competitions hoping that I execute what I did in training. Once I execute as well as I should I’m happy with that,” he concluded.
Similarly, Browne makes his return to training after conquering covid19. After returning to TT in early March from a hectic Olympic qualifier stint in Europe and Asia, the cyclist tested positive for coronavirus. He was quarantined, admitted to the Caura Hospital and then released just over a month later after returning two consecutive negative tests.
Browne and Paul will record their Olympic debuts in Tokyo in the Men Keirin and Sprint events respectively.
MacLean is an accomplished Track coach at the UCI World Cycling Centre. His achievements include 15 World Championships (Including one BMX), two Olympics, two Paralympics and four Commonwealth Games. He attained Olympic silver in 2000.
His broad experience and understanding of performance development required for success at the highest level as both a rider and a coach has enabled him to coach cyclists to become the best in the world.