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Canadian women’s team pursuit squad sets new national record, earns fourth place at Tokyo 2021

Canadian men also break national record, will race for fifth on Wednesday

The Canadian women’s team pursuit outfit may not have won a medal on Tuesday, but its fourth place in the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympic Games was a commendable performance, especially after setting a new national record of 4:09.249 in the first round. Also setting a new Canadian team pursuit record were the men, who stopped the clock at 3:46.769 in their first round match up with Germany.

Arianne Bonhomme replaced Jasmin Duehring on Tuesday, joining Beveridge, Annie Foreman-Mackey, and Georgia Simmerling in the first round versus France. Their time needed to be top two among the six teams not racing for gold and silver to get into a head-to-head showdown for the bronze medal. This they achieved with 4:09.249, beating the French foursome by over two seconds. They would be matched with the U.S.A., who clocked 4:07.562.

In the bronze medal match, the U.S.A. led by 0.888 after one kilometre of four, with the Canadians reducing the gap in the next 1000 metres. Chloe Dygart was pulling the American train in the middle part of the race. The final lap was Simmerling beginning to drop her teammates. In the end, Canada was 2.5 seconds slower.

Their 2021Olympic experience might not have ended with medals, but after qualifying with the slowest time on Monday, and breaking the national record on Tuesday, the Canadian women can hold their heads high. Photo: SIrotti

The gold went to Germany, which smashed the world record with 4:06.166 in its first round against Italy before beating the Brits in the final.

The Canadian men’s team pursuit squad also had to get a top two time among the six outfits not in line for gold and silver. After posting the sixth best time in qualifying, Vincent de Haître, Michael Foley, Derek Gee and Jay Lamoureux were matched up with Germany in the first round. There the quartet cracked the Germans with a time of 3:46.769, setting a new Canadian record.

Whether or not Canada would go on to vie for gold was up in the air after a bizarre incident between the Danes and the Brits in their first round match up. There was already bad blood between the teams after Stephen Park, British Cycling’s performance director, called for Denmark to be disqualified after the team used kinesiology tape on shins and undervests for aerodynamic marginal gains in the opening round.

The Danes caught the Brits, who were on a terrible ride, but Denmark’s Frederik Madsen rode into the back of Britain’s Charlie Tanfield, resulting in a crash and some hollering involving expletives picked up by the cameras. Since neither team had posted a time, there was some confusion as to who would get to the medal matches. Eventually the judges decided that the Danes had caught the Brits and would face the Italians for gold on Wednesday. The Kiwis and Aussies will square off for bronze, and the Canadians reacquaint itself with Germany for fifth place.

Madsen has a few choice words for Tanfield after the first round collision. Photo: Sirotti

Also in action on Wednesday will be Hugh Barrette and Nick Wammes in the sprint and Kelsey Mitchell and Lauriane Genest in the keirin.