Nicholas Paul has risen to number one in the men's elite sprint ranking following his treble-winning performance at the UCI Nations Cup at the Alcides Nieto Patino Velodrome in Colombia last weekend where he won gold in the 1km time trial, match sprint and keirin events setting two new venue records in the process.
Joining Paul on the rankings list which released on Monday is fellow Nations Cup gold medallist Akil Campbell after he also won gold in the men's elimination race in Colombia, T&T's first-ever win in that event on the Nations Cup circuit. He is now ranked third in the men's elite elimination ranking.
In what was a sensational ride, Campbell battled back from a crash he suffered from six riders left in the race. The fall left Campbell with a broken bike as well as a bruised hip, however, he got back into the saddle and caught up with the pack before eventually capturing the gold medal by winning a sprint ahead of Kenny de Ketele of Belgium.
Speaking to the media on Friday, Campbell said the accomplishment has energized him for the World Championships where he has already qualified for both the scratch and the elimination races.
"When I fell, I was pretty mad because I was on a big stage and wanted to do the right thing always. But I made a mistake and got back up. I think it was basically adrenaline that propelled me to win.
Campbell added, "It is a really good feeling to be ranked third in the world at this present time. The next thing for me would be the World Championships in France and hopefully, I can go there and perform at my best."
Although he has a damaged bike Campbell said he was trying to have it replaced by accessing any available grants from the Sports Company of T&T (SporTT). President of the T&T Cycling Federation Rowena Williams confirmed that the federation would assist Campbell, however, they could.
25-year-old Campbell, a former Caribbean junior road cycling gold medalist and a multi-time national champion has enjoyed a stellar 2021 so far. In June he won the men's scratch race at the Elite Pan American Championships which was also a first-ever for T&T.
When asked about what has contributed most to his purple patch of results, Campbell heaped praise on his sister Teniel who herself is a pioneering endurance rider on the European circuit.
"This year my sister was helping me a lot more with coaching wise and with my intervals, so I think that has been the biggest thing for me this year," he said.
Meanwhile, Williams said the recent accomplishments have served to heighten the profile of the sport and committed her organisation to capitalize on the increased exposure.