T&T cyclist Kwesi Browne will lock to pick up his first medal and podium finish when the 2022 Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup continues with the second of three stops at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Canada on Saturday.
Browne, who is based at the UCI Training Centre in Switzerland with countryman, Nicholas Paul who missed out through injury will first compete in the men’s keirin first round heats today before he goes after glory on Sunday in the men’s match Sprint Qualifying 200m Time Trial
Last month when the 2022 Nations Cup pedalled off at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, Scotland, both Browne and Paul, ended without a medal.
In fact, it was an unlucky campaign for Paul as he suffered a broken collar bone in a fall en route to a fourth-placed finish in the men’s Sprint.
A world record-holder in the Flying 200m with 9.100 seconds set at the Elite Pan American Championships in Bolivia, last year, Paul who made his Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games reaching the finals in both the Sprint and the Keirin was the second-fastest qualifier in the heats in 9.553 seconds, to trail Holland’s Harrie Lavreysen (9.433).
In the last-16 round, the T&T cyclist defeated Poland’s Rafal Sarnecki, the 18th qualifier.
He then defeated UCI training partner Suriname’s Jair Tjon En Fa in two straight rides to advance to the semifinals against Australian Matthew Richardson.
And in the best-of-three semifinal, Paul took a bad tumble as he crossed the finish line in heat one after which he had to defaulty the rest of the event while Lavreysen won in two straight rides as well over France’s Sebastien Vigier
In the battled for the bronze, Paul was set to face Vigier, but defaulted due to the injury while Lavreysen won the gold.
On the opening day of competition on Saturday, April 23, both T&T men ended their campaign in the Keirin event in the First Round Repercharge of the Keirin.
In the first round, Paul did not finish heat four which was won by Austrian Thomas Cornish while Japan’s Kyohei Shinzan, Canada’s Ryan Dodyk, Greece’s Kostantinos Livanos and Poland’s Daniel Rochna all finished ahead of Paul.
And in Heat Two, Browne was fourth, to finish ahead of Canada’s Je’Land Sydney and Spain’s Alejandro Martize Chorro in a race won by favourite Harrie Lavreysen of Holland with Thailand’s Jai Angsuthasawit and Great Britain’s Jack Garlin second and third respectively.
In the Round One Repercharge the T&T duo again failed to advance as they both finished third in their respective heats.
Paul was third in heat two behind France’s Rayan Helal and Garlin while Browne finished behind France’s Melvin Landerneau and Poland’s Patryk Rajkowski.
Going into the opening Nations Cup in Glasgow, Browne was encouraged by his performances at the T&T National Championships in March, which included a blistering 10.106 seconds in the Flying 200m on his way to winning the individual Sprint and Keirin titles.
Akil Campbell, one of T&T’s top wheelmen, was forced to miss the opening leg due to difficulty in attaining his travel documents and has also failed to travel to Canada.
The 26-year-old had won gold in the men’s scratch race at the most recent Nations Cup leg in Cali, Colombia, last September, a performance that earned him a debut World Championships appearance in France in October 2021.
The development left Campbell to reassess his early-season plans as this Nations Cup event was supposed to see him elevating his preparations for the Commonwealth Games and Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Championships later this year.
Campbell says he had hoped to compete in Scotland, miss the next leg in Milton, Canada, from May 12-15 and resume competition in Cali, Colombia (July 7-10) leading to the Commonwealth Games at the end of July in Birmingham, England.
The T&T trio are vying for points throughout the Nations Cup season which will count towards the allotment of qualification quotas for the 2022 Tissot UCI Track World Championships in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France from October 12-16 and further ahead - the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.
This third Nations Cup will be hed in Cali, Colombia (July 7-10).
In each event, the stars of track cycling will vie for singular victories and for cumulated points that will be essential to their National Federations’ qualification quotas for the UCI Track World Championships and, in the longer term, the Olympic Games, as a new cycle begins towards Paris 2024.