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Kelsey Mitchell breaks 200 m world record at Pan Am track cycling championships in Cochabamba

Canada accumulating medals and national records on the boards of Bolivia

Canada is unleashing some serious speed at the 2019 Pan American Track Cycling Championships in Cochabamba, Bolivia. On Thursday, Kelsey Mitchell of Sherwood Park, Alta. set a new world record in the 200 m sprint. That huge accomplishment adds to three Canadian records falling on the first day of the competition with the women’s team pursuit, men’s team pursuit and women’s sprint team all going faster than they ever have before.

Team sprint squad of Lauriane Genest and Mitchell scored a gold medal on Wednesday earning an automatic birth to the Berlin UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Berlin in February. Aidan Caves and Kinley Gibson also had great rides on the first day of the Pan Am championships in the scratch race earning bronze medals for Canada.

Mitchell is one of the new additions to Canada’s track cycling team. Having only started cycling in December of 2017, the 25-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise. Already a Canadian national champion in the sprint with bronze medals in the Keirin and 500 m time trial, Mitchell crushed the 200 m women’s track sprint world record in Cochabamba. Mitchell covered 200 m in 10.154s shaving off over .2 seconds from previous record holder Kristina Vogel’s time of 10.384 set in Aguascalientes in Dec. of 2013. Vogels is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and has a Olympic bronze medal to her name. Vogel was tragically paralyzed in her lower extremities following a training crash in June of 2018.

The Pan Am track championships are an important redezvous for Cycling Canada in an effort to accumulate points in the international standings to secure positions at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ahead of the 2019-2020 UCI World Cup season gets underways in Minsk, Belarus in November. Canada currently has 16 athletes competing in Bolivia at the Pan Am champs. Aidan Caves, Vincent De Haitre, Michael Foley, Derek Gee and Jay Lamoureux ride for Canada in the men’s team pursuit. Allison Beveridge, Ariane Bonhomme, Annie Foreman-Mackey, Kinley Gibson, Stephanie Roorda and Georgia Simmerling make up the women’s team pursuit line-up.

“The PanAm Champs is the second highest Olympic Qualifying event that our team has on the season calendar and, although logistically challenging to prepare for and get to, we are sending a full team to compete, ” said track head coach Brendon Cameron. “We’re looking for strong performances but the team is also mindful of the long season ahead and are making sure there’s a balanced approach with their training.”