T&T Sprint Cycling start quartet of Nicholas Paul, Keron Bramble, Njisane Phillip and Kwesi Browne will be the star attraction at the two days when Madonna Wheelers Cycling Club & T&T Cycling Federation Easter Cycling Classic.
The annual event, the mainstay on the local cycling calendar pedals off at the Arima Velodrome, Arima Municipal Stadium on Friday from 6 pm and continues on Saturday from 6 pm as well.
Last month, Paul was ranked as the fourth-best cyclist among the Men’s Elite Sprint by the UCI, an improvement from a position of tenth in February when the final UCI rankings for the 2018/2019 Track Cycling season on completion of the UCI World Track Cycling Championship in Pruszkow, Poland last week.
The improved rankings for Paul and the rest of the T&T cycling contingent comes on the heels of their impressive rides in Pruszkow, under the guidance of top international coach Erin Hartwell.
In Poland, 20-year-old Paul, the reigning Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games champion in the Team Sprint and silver in the sprint reached the quarterfinals of the Sprint.
However, he had to settle for the seventh spot after losing to world second-ranked Jeffrey Hoogland of Holland, multiple medallists of European and World championships, in two rides
On his way to the top seven finish, Paul eliminated three-time Asian champion in Keirin, Japanese Yuta Wakimoto and world champion from 2013, German Stefan Botticher.
The local trio of two-time Olympian Phillip, Bramble and Browne all improved on the end of year rankings as well.
Phillip, a fourth-place finisher in the Sprint at the 2012 London Olympics saw his ranking climbed from 36th to 27th while Bramble moved two places up from 67th to 65th, and Browne, from 76th to 74th.
Overall as a team, the T&T Men’s Elite Sprint team is ranked third with 4,338 points, five places up from their previous ranking, to trail world champions Holland (6,606 points) and Australia (6,031).
The other T&T team to be ranked is the Men’s Team Sprint, a historic ninth spot and first time among the top ten in the world from a previous best of 11th at the World Championship.
Holland leads the ranking followed by France, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Poland, Germany and China.
Browne also has a best-ever ranking of 12th in the Keirin, his placing in Poland, after starting the event, rated 19th best in the world.
Last week, the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) ensured that the traditional Easter Cycling Classic, previously known as the Easter International Cycling Grand Prix, will be staged by coming on board as major sponsors.
Arima club Madonna Wheelers earned the right to host the event for a second year, in the midst of severe financial hardship, after NLCB agreed to donate a substantial amount of money towards it.