Day one of the 2018 UCI paracycling track world championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil proved to be a strong day at the races for Canada, with Canadian athletes winning gold and silver during the event’s first round of competition.
This year’s UCI paracycling track world championships are the first to be held in South America.
In the men’s C2 individual pursuit, Tristen Chernove, representing Cranbrook, B.C., defended his title in breathtaking style, taking victory in the 3000-metre race with a time of three minutes and 44.385 seconds — six seconds ahead of his opponent, Lang Guihua of China. “It’s really nice to be back here riding at the Rio velodrome,” Chernove said, looking back on his win, “and to get a chance for redemption.” During the 2016 Rio Paralympics, Chernove took silver during the same event.
“I’m glad to be the world champion again,” he said. “I won’t say it was a comfortable race, but I had everything under control and the ride went well.”
The day’s silver went to Edmonton’s Ross Wilson, who placed second in the men’s C1 individual pursuit, a competition in which he took top honours last year. In qualifying rounds, Wilson stopped the clock with the individual pursuit’s fastest time, but fell short of the mark during the final race. By the finish, he was 2.362 seconds behind Spain’s Ricardo Argiles in the gold medal competition.
“The qualifying went really well,” Wilson said, “and I posted a wonderful time of 3:52.141, a personal best for me, and if I hadn’t had to pass my opponent I would have been close to that world record I am chasing. In the final I tried my absolute best, and it turned out it was a little bit shy of what was required.”
Nevertheless, Wilson remains optimistic. “So it is back to the training boards,” he said, “and hopefully next year I’ll have a shot at redemption and be ready for Tokyo in 2020.”
Other Canadian riders hitting the boards in Rio were Marie-Claude Molnar of St-Hubert, Que., who finished eighth in the women’s C4 500-metre time trial, and Saskatoon’s Keely Shaw, who finished tenth in that event.