Njisane Phillip to lead Trinidad and Tobago team at Elite Pan Am Cycling Championships

In this March 4, 2016 file photo, TT's Njisane Phillip competes in the Men's Sprint qualifying during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London.  -
In this March 4, 2016 file photo, TT's Njisane Phillip competes in the Men's Sprint qualifying during the 2016 Track Cycling World Championships at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London. -

TWO-TIME Olympic cyclist Njisane Phillip headlines a five-member national team selected for the upcoming Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships from June 23 to 29 in Lima, Peru.

Phillip, a nine-time Pan American medallist, was chosen alongside Rigtech Sonics club mates Keron Bramble and Zion Pulido and PSL Cycling Club’s Akil Campbell and Heatwave’s US-based Alexi Costa.

Gregory Dandrade (coach) Roger Frontin (manager) and Kevin Tinto (mechanic) complete the TT contingent.

The national squad was selected by the TT Cycling Federation (TTCF) racing committee, on Wednesday, following a two-day trial event at the National Cycling Centre in Couva last week.

Phillip will participate in the sprint event while Campbell and Costa contest the men and women’s Omnium. As training progresses, the coach will confirm respective events for Bramble and Pulido.

TT, however, will defend its Pan American Championship men’s Team Sprint title. Phillip was part of the 2018 national team, alongside Olympic-bound TT cyclists Nicholas Paul and Kwesi Browne, who won gold in this event at the last edition.

Initially, the meet was scheduled to pedal off from March 31 to April 7 but owing to a resurgence of coronavirus cases in Peru, the Peruvian Sports Federation of Cycling opted to shelve the competition until June 23.

TTCF president Rowena Williams welcomed a return to regional cycling and said the nation’s Team Sprint title defence remains a priority.

“We are really excited to have our team participate in the event as there has been much uncertainty over the last year and more for events happening due to the covid19 situation.

"We have had great success in the team sprint and are looking to maintain. We wish the cyclists all the best,” said Williams.

Additionally, this year’s Pan Am Championships serves as the first step in TT’s journey to securing 2024 Olympic (Paris, France) qualification.

After missing out on this year’s Summer Games in Tokyo, Phillip, who finished fourth at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the men’s sprint, restarts his Olympic quest at the Peru meet.

At this year’s Olympics, TT will be represented by three debutants – Switzerland-based Nicholas Paul (sprint) and Kwesi Brown and the nation’s first-ever female cyclist to qualify, Teniel Campbell (road race), currently based in Spain.

Phillip and Bramble are the only two Pan American medallists on the Peru-bound team. Bramble achieved his first individual Pan Am medal by grabbing keirin bronze at the 2019 Games. Phillip however, has been gracing the podium since 2010.

Costa and Campbell are familiar faces to the Pan Am circuit while Pulido will be making his senior debut with the national team.

Williams also confirmed that the federation is working on its travel arrangements and required exemptions to ensure the squad can leave TT and arrive in Peru ahead of the meet with ample time to settle and be fully prepared for the event.

The eight-member TT contingent is expected to depart on June 18.

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