AFTER a brief visit home for the Christmas season, top Team TTO cyclist Nicholas Paul will head back to the World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Switzerland at month’s end to continue his preparation for three major international competitions in 2022.

The 23-year-old Paul has had a very relaxed training regimen since his return in December, opting for the occasional road ride and sporadic gym sessions as he took advantage of the time to reconnect with his loved ones.

“Being able to be at home for a little while after a hectic season of training and living away for quite a while, I think it is always a great thing to come back home and see your family and friends and refresh, reset and refocus the mind,” Paul explained.

The Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) Senior Sportsman of the Year for 2021 said it was “satisfying” and “rewarding” to be recognised for his feats which included his silver medal kilometre time-trial effort at the UCI Tissot World Track Cycling Championships in Roubaix, France last October. Paul classed that singular performance, which broke a 30-year Team TTO medal-drought at the Worlds as his most special moment for 2021, a year in which he rated himself 90 out of 100 “because there is always room for improvement.”

“So being named TTOC Sportsman of the Year was just another great achievement for me, a morale-booster to keep working hard and to keep fighting day-in and day-out so it was great feeling for me,” Paul said.

A whirlwind 2021 also included a triple gold (men’s sprint, men’s keirin, and men’s kilometre time-trial) performance at the UCI Nations Cup in Colombia back in September and a silver medal in the men’s sprint to world champion Harrie Lavreysen of the Netherlands in the Lithuania second-leg of the newly-introduced elite UCI Champions League.

Back at the WCC under Scottish coach Craig Mc Clean, the current world record-holder for the flying 200 metres plans to continue plotting for more success against the world’s elite riders.

“One of the major lessons I have been learning throughout my cycling career is to believe in yourself and trust yourself every step of the way when you are racing,” Paul said. “2021 is all done and dusted, so now my plans and goals for 2022 will be the Nations Cup coming up and starting (in Glasgow) in April, then the Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham in May) and also the World (Track) Championships (in Saint Quentin en Yvelines in France from October 16-22), so I think those are my three major events for 2022.”