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Kelsey Mitchell wins sprint gold at the Milton Nations Cup

Canada's James Hedgcock fourth in the keirin

Kelsey Mitchell wins sprint gold at the Milton Nations Cup Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Team Canada claimed another medal on Saturday at the UCI Nations Cup in Milton, ON to bring its total up to three, as sprinter extraordinaire Kelsey Mitchell claimed gold in the individual sprint the day after she won silver in the team sprint. Canada’s James Hedgcock came very close to medaling in the men’s keirin, and he and the squad will be pleased with his fourth.

The day started with Olympic Games sprint gold medalist Mitchell and Lauriane Genest in the women’s individual sprint qualifying. The duo flexed hard, Genest setting the best time of 10.482 and Mitchell posting the fourth best time. They both got to skip the 1/16 finals.

Kelsey Mitchell pushes hard in Friday’s Team Sprint final. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

In the 1/8 finals, Genest drew Mexico’s Yuli Verdugo, while Mitchell matched with China’s Feifei Chen. Genest dispatched Verdugo and Mitchell was too much for Chen.

The best-out-of-three quarterfinals were run just before the day’s recess. Genest’s next opponent was Belgian Nicky Degrendele, and Mitchell took on Brit Katy Marchant. Genest couldn’t outsprint Degrendele two races in a row, but Mitchell beat Marchant two straight.

Mitchell could avenge Genest in the semi-final against the Belgian. In the first race, Degrendele led over the first lap before Mitchell took over the front and hung tough for the win. The Olympic Games champion’s second win was more comfortable. In the gold medal matchup Mitchell would once more meet Colombia’s Marth Bayona.

Mitchell beats the Belgian in the semis.

After the long hand-slinging extravaganza of the women’s madison, and the resulting track repairs, it was time for the medal sprints.

Mitchell held fast to the inside of the track to take Race 1.

Mitchell holds off Bayona in Race 1 of the gold final. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

Mitchell was at the outside rail for Race 2. Mitchell swung up the track and tried to dive down but Bayona didn’t yield. This time it was the Colombian holding off the Canadian. The rubber match would decide it. Mitchell’s strength and wiles decided the gold, as she came around the outside to earn the win in front of the partisan crowd.

Michael Foley was Canada’s representative in the men’s omnium qualifying. He was in Heat 1, which consisted of 60 laps (15 km) with six sprints. Foley was tied with three others on five points, but he did not advance to the four events because he finished the race the lowest of the four.

Canadians Nick Wammes, Ryan Dodyk and James Hedgcock would follow the derny in the men’s keirin. In qualifying, Wammes had the best result of the three, coming runner-up in Heat 6. All three, however, would get a chance to reach the second round via the first round repechage. Hedgcock made it through and he would race in Heat 2 of the second round.

Hedgcock was part of the Heat 2 sextet, and by coming runner-up to Matthew Glaetzer, he moved on to the medal race.

Hedgcock (red jersey, black helmet) and Glaetzer at the front of the keirin’s second round.

Hedgcock was up against two Australians, a German, a Trinidadian and a Surinamese in the final. An Australian earned the gold and the Canadian took fourth.

Sunday is the final day of competition in the last Nations Cup of the season.