The Trinidad and Tobago Cycling Federation has dropped Njisane Phillip and Kerron Bramble from the T&T team for the upcoming UCI World Cup in Canada (January 24-25) and Cycling World Championship in Germany next month.
Nicholas Paul and Kwesi Browne retained their places on the team and they will be now joined by Quincy Alexander as Team T&T resumes efforts to qualify for the Olympic Games in the team sprint, keirin and individual sprints in Tokyo, Japan.
Apart from the three cyclists, the contingent will include manager David Francis, coach Erin Hartwell and physiotherapist Derek Ashby.
The decision comes even as the team is contesting Pan Am Sports’ recent decision to strip them of two medals won at last year’s Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, following a positive doping test during the July/August event. The decision saw the team of Phillip, Browne, Paul and Kerron Bramble losing their team sprint gold and Phillip losing his individual match sprint silver medal, while Paul kept his gold medal in the individual ride.
However, yesterday, the TTCF officials refused to disclose whether the Pan Am doping matter had any bearing on the the decision to leave Phillip and Bramble off the team. Efforts to contact both Phillip and Bramble were also unsuccessful as calls to their cellphones went unanswered.
Yesterday, Alexander, who faced a challenge to secure a place on the team months ago, said he was happy to be back in the T&T set-up.
“I am just grateful and thankful for the opportunity because I have been there, day-in and day-out in the programme. This is something I’ve been looking forward to and I am thankful that I can suit up and go race,” Alexander said.
“What is happening with the sport of cycling over the past few weeks is not my business. It does not concern me, I am continuing with this mindset, I am not going to let anything that does not concern me affect me.”
Alexander, who challenged coach Erin Hartwell’s selection process early last year and at one time had threatened to take legal action via a pre-action protocol letter against the cycling federation, said he just wants to achieve his targets and get the job done in 2020.
“I really want to focus on my performance rather than just the result, and focus on just trying to hit my personal targets. Everyone wants to do well, including me, I want to do well. But my mindset is getting there, feeling the atmosphere and getting the job done. The reward will come at the end, if you medal or so,” Alexander told Guardian Media.
However, Alexander admitted he believes the recent developments in the sport will make qualification to the Olympics more difficult in the team sprint.
Only Paul, who broke a world record in the flying 200 metres sprint at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Cochabamba, Bolivia, last year, is close to sealing an Olympic berth. T&T’s female cyclist Teniel Campbell has already secured her spot in Tokyo.
The T&T team will fly out to Canada on January 18.