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Duehring wins silver on Day 1 of the Milton track World Cup

Canadian women's and men's team pursuit squad qualify first and second respectively

Canada’s highlight of Friday’s first short day of competition in the Milton track cycling World Cup was a points race silver for Jasmin Duehring. To begin the first track World Cup in Canada since 1998, the women’s and men’s team pursuit squad qualified first and second respectively to set up an exciting Saturday of competition.

The published schedule tossed aside, the day started with qualifying in Canada’s forte, the women’s team pursuit. Oddly, it appeared that only three teams had traveled to Milton: New Zealand, Japan and France. Heavy-hitters Italy and Great Britain had stayed away. The Kiwis posted a 4:25.129 before Allison Beveridge, Ariane Bonhomme, Annie Foreman-Mackey and Kinley Gibson stopped the clock at 4:22.310. Canada, who took a silver in Pruszków, Poland’s first event of the 2017-2018 World Cup, now faces Japan in the first round Saturday morning.

Then it was the Canadian men’s team pursuit outfit’s turn to qualify. Canada’s men took a bronze and a gold in the first two rounds of last year’s World Cup. Could they medal on their home boards? This time the New Zealand-Canada order was flipped, with the Kiwis setting the fastest time of 3:59.588 and Derek Gee, Adam Jamieson, Jay Lamoureux and Bayley Simpson achieving an impressive 4:01.245 for second. Canada drew the third fastest team, the U.S.A., for Saturday’s first round.

Tegan Cochrane and Amelia Walsh comprised Canada’s duo for the women’s team sprint qualifying. It was a tough race for Canada, with a time of 35.342 setting them in 12th out of 13 duos.

Cochrane and Walsh in the team sprint. Photo credit: Kevin Mackinnon

In the men’s team sprint qualifying, the Kiwis, who have been shut out of the World Cup podiums so far, took the fastest time of eight squads. France and Great Britain, second and third in Poland, were also second and third in Friday’s qualifying.

Part of the reason Milton had to change the original schedule was because there was no need for qualifying of the points races. The women went for the medals first.

Duehring was one of 14 athletes in the women’s points race. The women would ride 20-km, contesting a sprint every 10-laps, with 5, 3, 2 and 1 points awarded for the first four places and 20 extra points if a rider lapped the field. World omnium champion of Katie Archibald of Great Britain took the first four sprints and led by 14-points with 30-laps to go. Duehring took points on Sprints 1 and 3, but it was her victories on Sprints 5 and 7, along with a lap bonus, that earned her silver. Archibald had 47 points, Duehring 38 and third place Jarmila Machacova of the Czech Republic took 24.

Duehring told Canadian Cycling, “I didn’t know all the girls in the race. I haven’t been racing this fall, so I didn’t really know what to expect from myself either. But I think I bring a good amount of experience–I’ve been doing this for a while now, and that was probably my greatest strength out there today, being able to just read the race, read what my competitors were doing and being able to adjust accordingly. I could tell early on that Katie had a little better sprint than me, so I just tried to make the race hard and create opportunities. I wasn’t quite able to get her, but I think it was still a pretty good performance.”

Duehring took a silver in the points race at the 2016 World Championships in London. Last season in the Los Angeles round of the World Cup, she took second in the scratch race, and before that won a points race silver in three consecutive seasons.

The final event of the day was the men’s points race , a 30-km contest. With a win in Poland and no points race offered in Manchester’s second World Cup round, Kazakh Nikita Panassenko led the World Cup, but he wasn’t racing in Milton. It was a fine opportunity for Greek Christos Volikakis–second place in Poland–to take over the lead. The Greek met difficulties, placing 8th out of 19 riders. The winner was Dane Niklas Larsen, the omnium winner in Poland and part of the madison winning duo in Manchester. As in the men’s team sprint Canada had no entrants in the men’s points race.

The action continues with a full slate on Saturday.