Njisane Phillip

(flashback)FASTEST ON SHOW: Njisane Phillip competes in the Flying 200 metres during Saturday’s Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) assessment meet at the National Cycling Centre, in Couva. Phillip was the fastest on show, stopping the clock at 10.488 seconds.

—Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Njisane Phillip was the only cyclist to achieve a qualifying time as competition returned to the National Cycling Centre (NCC), in Couva, on Saturday.

Phillip clocked 10.488 seconds in the Flying 200 metres at the first of two assessment meets. Following the second assessment, on January 29, the Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation (TTCF) will select cyclists for the Elite Pan American Track Championships in Lima, Peru and the Junior Track World Championships in Cairo, Egypt.

Nicholas Paul, the Flying 200 world record holder at 9.100 seconds, and Kwesi Browne are automatic picks in the men’s sprint and keirin events for the Elite Pan Am meet. Both cyclists are at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Switzerland, preparing for the July 23 to August 8 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

One spot on the T&T team for the men’s sprint is still up for grabs, and another for the keirin. Selection berths are also available in the madison, female sprint, keirin and team sprint, male and female omnium and individual time trial, and male under-23 team sprint and team pursuit.

Phillip’s 10.488 ride was 12-thousandths of a second faster than the 10.500 standard set for the Elite Pan American Track Championships. Two other riders, Phillip’s Rigtech Sonics teammate Keron Bramble and Quincy Alexander of DPS competed among the elites. Bramble returned a time of 10.604 seconds, while Alexander clocked 10.654.

D’Angelo Harris was the best on show in the elite/under-23 category, the Sonics wheelman getting to the line in 10.966 seconds. Evolution Academy’s Michael Ackee clocked 11.583, while Kyle Caraby of Arima Wheelers produced a 12.775 ride.

In the male junior category, 17-year-old Ryan D’Abreau got home in 12.147 seconds. His 16-year-old Wheelers teammate, Devante Laurence clocked a personal best 12.227.

Two female junior cyclists were on show in the Flying 200. Pheobe Sandy’s time was 13.654 seconds, while her training partner at Madonna, Makayla Hernandez returned a time of 14.100.

With the Covid-19 pandemic keeping cyclists off the track for many months last year, it was no surprise that qualifying times were hard to come by in the Flying 200. The sprinters who showed up at the NCC on Saturday had not competed since the National Championships, last March.

Phillip was the exception on the day with his 10.488 qualifying ride. But even the 2012 Olympic Games men’s sprint fourth-place finisher was well short of his 9-point best.

There were no qualifying exceptions in the men’s individual pursuit, all four riders missing out on the four minutes, 45.000 seconds standard. Elite Akil Campbell was the best of the quartet, the PSL rider completing his 16 laps of the track in 4:55.502.

Another PSL wheelman, Jabari Whiteman was fastest in the elite/under-23 category with a 5:03.402 ride. Evolution’s Tariq Woods clocked 5:14.136, while Maurice Burnett of DPS got home in 5:30.184.

Zion Pulido was the fastest of three elite/under-23 riders in the standing 250m, the Sonics cyclist returning a time of 19.187 seconds. Ackee clocked 19.313, and Harris 20.237.

All 15 riders at the first assessment would be keen to go faster when they return to competition at the NCC on January 29.

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