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Canadian men’s team pursuit crash overshadows Day 1 successes at track cycling worlds

Team pursuit, team sprint women move on from qualification in Hong Kong

Image: Rob Jones
Image: Rob Jones

Canadian women’s teams had good results on Wednesday’s first day of the 2017 Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong, but the men had a rough one, with a bad crash taking down the team pursuit squad.

In the championships’ opening event, the women’s team pursuit qualifying, Canada’s Stephanie Roorda, Jasmin Duehring, Laura Brown and Annie Foreman-Mackey met Italy, the new power in the discipline. Canada pipped Italy, posting 4:19.515, the third best qualifying time.

Canada is matched up with Australia in Round 1 on Thursday, while Italy and world champions USA, tops in qualifying with 4:17.722, square off. The winners of those races will go on to the gold/silver contest, while the next two fastest times from all four Round 1 match-ups will race for bronze.

Later in the team sprint the Canadian duo of Kate O’Brien and Amelia Walsh, silver medalists in the Los Angeles World Cup round, went up against Colombia in qualifying. Over two laps O’Brien and Walsh set the seventh best time while beating the Colombians.

Versus the Australians in the first round, Canada found the Aussies too much. Australia went on to face Russia in the gold medal match where the Russians repeated as world championships. Canada earned fifth place all around.

The women’s scratch race has been a strong event for Canada. Last year Roorda took a bronze in the discipline, and Canada’s representative this year, Jasmin Deuhring, won silver in the L.A. World Cup. On Wednesday Deuhring’s strong finish propelled her to sixth, with Italian Rachale Barbieri earning gold.

In the men’s team pursuit Australia came very close to beating Great Britain’s, posting 3:50.577 over 4-km. The record, set in the London Olympic Games, is 3:50.265.

However, hearts were in mouths when the Canadian team suffered a crash in a collision with New Zealand as the Kiwis were overtaking.

Aiden Caves, Adam Jamieson, Jay Lamouroux and Bayley Simpson found New Zealand catching and passing them, but when the last Kiwi came by Simpson, his back tire touched Simpson’s front tire, spilling the Canuck quartet at the 3250-metre mark. New Zealand stayed upright, and are in the gold medal final versus Australia on Thursday after defeating Italy. The track had to be repaired and a tweet from Cycling Canada seems to indicate that Caves was injured in the incident.

The Canadian quartet earned bronze and gold in the first two events of this year’s World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland and Apeldoorn, the Netherlands respectively.

Later in the men’s team sprint qualifying Hugo Barrette, Stefan Ritter and Patrice Saint-Louis Pivin clocked the second-to-last time in a three-lap affair. The best time of 43.2657 belonged to the reigning champions New Zealand, who repeated, beating the Netherlands in the gold medal match.

Thursday sees O’Brien start her individual sprint journey and Barrette face the keirin. The women’s team pursuit reaches its conclusion.