The 2018 UCI track cycling world championships happen from Feb. 28th to March 4th in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, and as Cycling Canada announced on Feb. 21, a squad of 14 athletes will hit the boards for this year’s competition, representing the Maple Leaf.
The team, Cycling Canada announced, includes seven women and seven men, competing in both endurance and sprint events.
Canada’s women’s endurance team has stood near the top of the world rankings over the past two Olympiads, and this year’s squad, led by Calgary’s Allison Beveridge and Vancouver’s Jasmin Duehring, aims to continue that trend. Riders will hit the boards for a series of events, including the madison, points race and omnium, with individual athlete assignments to be determined closer to competition.
Craig Griffin, track endurance coach for the women’s team, remarked on Cycling Canada’s goals for the squad going into the Apeldoorn world championships. “Cycling Canada is continuing its strategy of investing in new talent with its women’s track endurance lineup for the 2018 track world championships,” Griffin said. “We have a balanced mix of youth and experience that has the potential to win a couple of medals in Apeldoorn.”
“They’ve all been 100% committed to the training process these last few months and are tracking well, so I’m quite optimistic,” Griffin added.
There’s reason to be optimistic about the men’s track endurance squad as well, a group of athletes that have demonstrated tremendous growth over the past two seasons. With a World Cup victory under their helmets, all five of the participating athletes have been called up for the team pursuit event. Jay Lamoureux of Victoria and Derek Gee of Ottawa will also compete in the individual pursuit.
Though there have been losses in the ranks of the sprint program — retirement and injury having taken some athletes out of contention — Canada has qualified three riders to compete in Apeldoorn, each representing a podium at a major international event. The sole qualifying woman, Amelia Walsh of Ayr, Ont., will ride in the women’s sprint event, while World Cup silver medalist Hugo Barrette of Iles-de-la-Madelaine, Que. will ride in the men’s sprint and keirin. Stefan Ritter of Edmonton, a former 1000m Junior world titlist and the current Junior 1000m world record holder, will hit the boards in the sprint and 1000m time trial.
Some details have yet to be ironed out, organizers say, but with a strong team ready to roll in the Netherlands, the course to Tokyo 2020 is set.
“Final preparations for the world championships are well underway,” said Franck Durivaux, Cycling Canada’s national sprint coach, “and the sprinters are in great shape and more determined than ever. We still have certain details to work on, but I trust that they will give their very best during this competition. This will be my first worlds representing Canada and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Jacques Landry, chief technical officer and head coach, echoed Durivaux’s sentiments.
“With these worlds being more than two years out from the Tokyo Games, and not counting for qualification for the Games, we are still using this opportunity to integrate newer riders into the lineups, in order to have these athletes gain more experience at the highest level,” Landry said. “This holds true with Michael Foley coming into the fold on the men’s team pursuit side, as well as Ariane Bonhomme and Kinley Gibson for the women’s team pursuit.”
“All have already raced World Cups,” Landry noted, “but worlds is another step up from previous experiences.”
Women’s Endurance (events to be confirmed)
Allison Beveridge – Calgary, Alberta
Ariane Bonhomme – Gatineau, Quebec
Jasmin Duehring – Vancouver, BC
Annie Foreman-Mackey – Kingston, Ontario
Kinley Gibson – Edmonton, Alberta
Steph Roorda – Vancouver, BC
Aidan Caves – Vancouver, BC [Team Pursuit] Michael Foley – Milton, Ontario [Team Pursuit] Derek Gee – Ottawa, Ontario [Team Pursuit, Individual Pursuit] Adam Jamieson – Barrie, Ontario [Team Pursuit] Jay Lamoureux – Victoria, BC [Team Pursuit, Individual Pursuit]
Hugo Barrette – Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec [Sprint, Keirin] Stefan Ritter – Edmonton, Alberta [Sprint, 1000m TT] Amelia Walsh – Ayr, Ontario [Sprint]