OLYMPIC-BOUND TT cyclist Nicholas Paul will spend a virtual Christmas with his family, this year, and has no intention of returning home until the completion of the 2021 Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Paul and fellow Olympic cycling debutant Kwesi Browne are presently training at the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland. The pair is gearing up to represent TT in the men’s sprint and keirin events at the quadrennial games.

The duo returned to the WCC, in October, to climax preparations under pro cycling coach Craig McLean.

Paul, however, recognises the many challenges involved in returning to TT before the Olympics and has made up his mind to sacrifice the coming months solely focused on amplifying his competitive ability.

“I’ll be having a virtual Christmas with my family. At the end of the day, you have to sacrifice for what you want. I’ve already set my mind to remain out here in the long run so I just have to keep doing what I have to do with the main focus on my goals.

“It’s not easy but we have to do it. I’m anxiously awaiting to represent TT to go out there and show my true potential,” he said.

The pair train daily along the WCC indoor track, do road rides and a lot of gym work at the world-class facility. Before they arrived in Switzerland, Paul and Browne were not allowed to train fully in TT owing to government’s covid19 restrictions.

Since they touched down at the WCC, the two cyclists have made a welcome return to pro training. Although training has resumed in full flight, races and competitions remain on the back burner because of the pandemic.

“Training has been going good. Competition is not back up to full steam but we’re working around and making sure we get in our training in, to prepare ourselves to the best of our abilities. “It’s always good to be back on the bike. Being home for such a long time. Olympics is less than a year away so training needs to be done at the highest level. We’re just putting in the hard work, keeping on toiling to make yourself better and be able to represent TT,” he added.

Paul was also pleased to have Browne as company on this journey to the Olympics. He said the pair are able to support each other through it all and there’s always a fellow countryman to relate to in a foreign land.

TT’s first-ever female Olympic cyclist Teniel Campbell is based in Italy and expected to begin her second pro season with Mitchelton-Scott in 2021. Similarly, Campbell recently said she also has no direct intention to return home before the Olympic Games due to uncertainty of international travel and the risk of getting stuck at home.

Amidst the pandemic and his decision to stay in Europe until the Games, Paul is contented.

“I never feel any pressure because I compete with myself first. Once I can keep bettering myself and pushing myself as hard as possible and I know that I’m getting results, I never feel any pressure.

“Once I do my best, keep flying the TT flag high and come out with the results I wanted, I’m happy. It’s always good to have a teammate with you. Although, if you don’t, you still have to do what you have to do. A teammate, however, keeps pushing you and maintain sanity,” he concluded.