Nicholas Paul added another medal to his overflowing 2022 tally when he rode to men’s keirin gold on day two at the Elite Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Lima, Peru, on Thursday.
This was Paul’s second Pan Am medal in as many days, as he partnered with countrymen Zion Pulido and Kwesi Browne to capture team sprint gold on Wednesday.
In the six-lap keirin final, Paul stayed in second position for the first three laps, trailing the motorised pacer and World Cycling Centre training partner Surinamese Jair Tjon En Fa.
When the pacer exited the track with three laps to go, Colombian Sanitago Ramirez and Canadian James Hedgcock made a break from the back.
Recognising their tactic, Paul pumped his legs to maintain top spot and Browne pedalled into third position.
With two laps to go, Ramirez and his countryman Kevin Quintero initiated another surge forward to pass Browne, but Paul was unstoppable. The TT cyclist could not be caught and once again, pedalled to gold in fine style.
The late press from the foreign riders bumped Browne down to fifth overall. Quintero and Ramirez snatched silver and bronze respectively.
In Friday morning’s sprint qualification round, Paul, Browne and Quincy Alexander easily advanced to the 1/16 finals.
Paul, the world record-holder (9.1 seconds) in this event, topped the field and set a new track record of 9.444s. Browne (10.251s) was tenth fastest and Alexander (10.397s) 14th fastest.
In the 1/16 finals, however, only Paul survived, as he conquered American Evan Boone in straight rides. Browne lost out to Canadian Ryan Dodyk and Alexander was ousted by another Canadian, Nick Wammes.
Paul’s fine performance sees him enter the final rounds of men’s sprint competition as the clear favourite in Friday’s afternoon session.
Over the past two months, the Gasparillo-bred cyclist has won double gold at the UCI Nations Cup in Colombia, a complete set (gold, silver and bronze) of Commonwealth Games medals and two more gold at the Pan Am tourney.
He remains in pole position for yet another sprint title in Peru.
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