ENDURANCE CYCLIST Akil Campbell concluded his World Track Cycling Championships debut with a 17th place finish in the men’s elimination race in Roubaix, France on Sunday.
Campbell was knocked out in the opening laps of the race as Italy’s Elia Vivian, Portugal’s Iuri Leitao and Russian Cycling Federation Donovan Grondin were the top three respectively.
The cyclist from Trinidad and Tobago also placed 23rd in the men’s omnium on Saturday. He finished tied after failing to complete the points race, which was the last omnium race.
However, the highlight for the TT team at the World Championships was Nicholas Paul’s immense effort to win a historic silver medal in the men’s one-mile time trial on Friday.
In the process, Paul ended a 30-year drought at the TT World Championships since veteran Gene Samuel won bronze in the same event in 1991.
The 23-year-old sprinter crossed the line in 59.791 seconds after completing four laps around the Jean-Stablinski velodrome.
Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland won gold in the 1km time trial in 58.418 and German Joachim Eilers in 1: 00.008 won bronze.
In 1967, cyclist Roger Gibbon made history by winning TT’s first medal at a track cycling world championship – bronze in the 1km time trial. Twenty-four years later, Samuel repeated the feat.
In addition, Paul competed in the men’s sprint and keirin events where he narrowly missed the medal in both events.
In Friday’s keirin, the Gasparillo native settled for a credible fourth. He finished behind winner Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands, who clocked 10.027. Lavreysen’s compatriot Jeffrey Hoogland won silver while Mikhail Iakovlev of the Russian Federation retained bronze.
And in the sprint final on Saturday, Paul was eliminated in the quarter-final by German Stefan Boetticher. The TT rider won the first race by a convincing margin, but Boetticher rebounded strongly to grab the next two races to qualify.
In the first round of qualifying for the men’s sprint, the men’s 200m flying world record holder made an early statement finishing with the second fastest time of 9.421 seconds. Only Lavreysen (9.418) set a better time.
The two-man TT cycling team was joined by coach / mechanic Elisha Greene.