Paul captures men’s sprint, keirin gold at Nations Cup

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Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul celebrates his victory over Netherlands’ Harrie Lavreysen in the men’s sprint, at the Tissot International Cycling Union Track Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia on Sunday. PHOTO COURTESY UCI TRACK CYCLING. –

TRINIDAD AND Tobago’s Nicholas Paul capped off a successful return to the competitive circuit when he defeated reigning Olympic, World and European champion Harrie Lavreysen to win the men’s sprint gold at the Tissot International Cycling Union Track Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia on Sunday.

Paul showed grit and tactical awareness in his two rides against the Dutchman by smartly executing early breaks and using his strength to maintain a timely advantage.

In the first gold medal ride, Paul toyed with Lavreysen but rapidly increased his speed with two laps to go. He victoriously rallied to the end and adopted a similar approach in the second race.

Lavreysen though, did well to catch up to Paul in the second race and almost had him on the line but the photo finish easily separated the pair.

Claiming bronze was fellow Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland, who bettered crowd favourite, Colombia’s Fontalvo Ortega in straight rides.

This was Paul’s second gold medal of the competition, after he pedalled into winner’s row in the men’s keirin on Saturday.

In the men’s sprint semi-final round, Paul also made light work of Hoogland by disposing of him in consecutive rides. He returned a similar performance against China’s Yu Zhou in heat two of the quarter-final.

Prior to that, Paul trumped Kiwi cyclist Sam Dakin in the 1/8 finals but compatriot Kwesi Browne went down to Lavreysen’s powerful performance.

And in the opening qualification round, Paul, who holds the world record (9.1 seconds) in this event, qualified second fastest of the 20 advancing riders. He clocked 9.503s while Lavreysen topped the field with a 9.461s clocking.

Browne’s time was 16th fastest and he was forced to contest the 1/16 finals against Canadian James Hedgecock, which he won.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul (right) gets the better of Netherlands’ Harrie Lavreysen to win the men’s sprint, at the Tissot International Cycling Union Track Nations Cup in Cali, Colombia on Sunday. PHOTO COURTESY UCI TRACK CYCLING. –

Paul’s keirin win on Saturday saw him clock 9.911 seconds in the final to stave off silver medallist Jai Angsuthasawit of Thailand and bronze receiver Sam Dakin of New Zealand.

In the first round, Paul topped heat five with a 9.774s clocking and automatically advanced to the second stage.

Browne contested heat three but placed second behind Colombian Kevin Quintero. He was made to contest the repechage in a final attempt to secure second round qualification.

There, Browne placed second in heat three and did not advance. Only repechage winners earned spots in the next round.

Paul however, won heat two (10.079s) of round two and booked a spot in the gold medal ride, which he won convincingly.

Additionally, TT endurance rider Akil Campbell also captured gold in the men’s elimination race on Saturday. Up to press time on Sunday, he was still competing in the final round of men’s omnium – points race.

However, his overall tally after three of the four omnium events will not see him finish among the medals in this event.

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