NATIONAL CYCLIST Nicholas Paul won silver in the men’s sprint event of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Champions League second leg, which started in Lithuania on Saturday.
After making it through qualifying and the semi-finals, Paul was beaten to the finish line in a race final by Dutch speedster Harrie Lavreysen.
With just over one lap to go, Paul forced Lavreysen back up the track and decided to quickly take the lead starting with over 300 meters to go.
His tactics seemed to work well at first, but Lavreysen never gave up, pushed hard and filtered into Paul’s wake to generate enough momentum to knock the TT rider down just before the finish line.
It was Paul’s very first UCI Nations Cup medal in the second leg of the five-stage tournament.
In the opening round, the 200-meter flying world record holder Paul qualified fourth behind Lavreysen, Germany’s Stefan Botticher and Colombian Kevin Quintero respectively.
In the semi-final against Botticher and Mikhail Iakovlev, Paul executed his precocious push at the start of the last lap and could not be caught; thus qualifying for the final against world champion Lavreysen.
In the other semi-final, the flying Dutchman won against the Russian Denis Dmitriev and Quintero.
Additionally, Paul was unable to qualify for the second round of the men’s keirin. He placed third in the third round, with only the top two riders – Jeffrey Hoogland (Netherlands) and Dmitriev – passing.
Paul is now focusing on the Champions League games in London, England, which start on Friday. The UCI Champions League finals will take place in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 11.