There were thrills and spills on Thursday’s second day of the Elite Pan American Senior Track Cycling Championships at the National Cycling Centre in Balmain Couva, with T&T’s only realistic medal hope Keron Bramble being the centre of a massive spill that saw him being thrown off his bike and into the stands during the Men’s keirin.
Yesterday however T&T’s two-time Olympian Njisane Phillip was disqualified from the Match Sprint during the qualifiers and Nicholas Paul was beaten in a ride-off by Venezuelan Marcano Cesar.
Phillip, who was among the top four cyclists in the world at the 2012 Olympic Games in London England in the match sprint, appeared to have pushed his opponent Ruber Murillo of Colombia out of his lane, causing him to be thrown out.
On Thursday however fans at the south-eastern side of the NCC were unprepared for what was about to happen as the sprinters geared up for a dash to the finish line for the right to be among the gold-medal ride in the keirin, that was scheduled to took place yesterday evening. Before the lead motorcycle could exit the tracks, Guatemalan cyclist Luis Girdon went down, while the others jostled for positions ahead of the last lap. With less than a lap to go American sprinter James Mellen also went down unexpectedly in Bramble’s path. The T&T rider attempted to avoid a collision, but his pull sent him catapulting into the crowd.
One fan was struck on the left leg by Bramble’s bike and had to receive treatment from fire officers. Bramble was taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where he was later released with minor bruises.
Meanwhile Kwesi Browne, who was also in the keirin quarter-final race with Brambles, advanced to the final along with Juan Pablo Serrano of Argentina. They were joined by Colombia’s Fabian Puerta and Argentina’s Leandro Bottasso among others.
Apart from the spills, the day had belonged to team Canada who dominated nearly every event it took part in and copped the gold medals in both the Men’s and Women’s Team Pursuit events. The Canadian team of Meghan Grant, Devaney Collier, Kinley Gibson and Ariane Bonhomme captured gold by virtue of catching their opponents Mexico (Sofia Arreola, Yarley Salazar, Jessica Bonilla and Mayra Rocha) in the final. Cuba claimed the bronze by beating Colombia in a time of four minutes, 38.318 seconds.
Canada’s men team also disposed of the USA in 4:02.378 seconds. The Women’s match sprint also saw Paola Verdugo of Mexico, Salazar, Madalyn Godby (USA) and Daniella Gaxiola of Mexico advancing to yesterday’s semis final, while Hugo Valasquez of Argentina pedalled away with the men’s Scratch Race. He finished ahead of Bryan Gomes (Colombia) in second and third Jamol Eastmond of Barbados.