Flashback: Russell Elcock celebrating after crossing the line to win the Garrison criterium ahead of Joshua Kelly. (FILE)
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The kings are coming back for their crowns.
Dethroned champs Joshua Kelly and Russell Elcock look set to return to their winning ways, having started as heavy favourites to reclaim their respective road race and individual time trial titles at this weekend’s two-day National Race Series.
It’s the biggest storyline heading into Saturday’s much-awaited start to an extremely competitive National Championship that will feature no less than five overseas-based riders.
And none are bigger than the 22-year-old Kelly, who already has a Caribbean time trial gold medal and other international podium finishes under his belt.
But he didn’t get to defend his national road race crown last year due to illness, paving the way for Massy United Insurance teammate Gregory Vanderpool to ride away with his first-ever major title.
However, Kelly seems ready and raring to go now following a pair of second-place sub-23 finishes at the Vuelta Independencia Nacional and the Trofee de la Caraibe earlier this year.
Elcock has been in a rich vein of form this season too after winning no less than two circuit races on the local calendar for the season.
And the FTR cycling club record holder has the added motivation of watching his five-year time trial reign snapped last year when he came second to Kelly’s brother Jesse.
The elder Kelly isn’t saddling up this weekend, though, robbing the championships of a high calibre rider in the elite division.
Yet the event won’t be wanting for talent, particularly not in Saturday’s time trial which starts a 6 a.m., that is being billed as a good old–fashioned Spring Garden Highway showdown between Elcock and the younger Kelly.
But the ensuing road race on Stewart Hill will be bigger still, considering Kelly and Elcock are just part of a loaded elite field including reigning king Vanderpool, Pan Am bronze medallist Edwin Sutherland and his fellow Trinidad-based riders Jamol Eastmond and Philip Clarke.
Both Clarke and Eastmond are former national road race champions while Clarke is fresh off of two wins on the local cycling season.
The 120-kilometre road race starts outside Bushy Park at 6 a.m. on Sunday. (JM)