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Top performances expected at Cycling World Cup
The UCI Track Cycling World Cup Leg II will pedal off on Thursday in Aguascalientes, Mexico and first leg team manager Gregory D’Andrade says the country can expect more promising performances from Njisane Phillip and Varun Maharajh. At the first leg of the World Cup in Manchester, England from November 1-3 both Phillip and Maharajh gave creditable showings against the best cyclists in the world. In the Men’s Sprint event, Phillip won T&T’s first medal at a UCI World Cup, finishing second behind German Robert Forstemann. In the Kierin event, he narrowly missed out on a medal, placing fourth.
Maharajh, competing in the Omnium event, gave it his best, clocking two personal bests (PB). In the 4k Individual pursuit he stopped the clock in 4 minutes 52.818 seconds and broke another PB in the 1k time trial (1:07.807). Maharajh finished 17th overall. The city of Aguascalientes is above sea level, with an average height of 1800 metres, and D’Andrade believes it may prove a challenge for Maharajh but knows he will be competitive. “Varun may have some difficulty with the elevation, but he is looking for a new record in the Individual pursuit that will show some kind of improvement,” he stated.
D’ Andrade also says that Njisane is becoming a household name after his showing at the 2012 London Olympics. He said the crowd at the first leg was behind him. “They were (crowd) supporting him, the crowd was for him.” The former T&T manager says that Njisane is the first sprinter that the country has had at such a high level since Gene Samuel. D’Andrade stated that the world is becoming aware of T&T in the world of cycling, saying the cycling bodies in the country are taking the sport seriously.
Joining Njisane and Maharajh on this trip will be Team DPS (Drive Phase Sport), led by Quincy Alexander. Alexander will compete in the 1km time trial, while Jude Codrington and Justin Roberts will team up with Alexander in the Men’s team sprint. D’ Andrade believes it will be difficult for Team DPS, but knows it will be great exposure. Gary Acosta will serve as T&T’s manager for the second leg, which ends on Saturday.
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