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Mitchell and Genest power to Friday’s sprint semifinals on Day 2 of track Worlds

Canadian women's team pursuit squad takes fourth

Tokyo Olympic Games medalists Kelsey Mitchell and Lauriane Genest bounced back from team sprint disappointment on Day 1 of the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships and powered their way into the individual sprint semifinals Thursday at the Vélodrome Couvert Regional Jean-Stablinski, affectionately known as “Le Stab” in Roubaix, France. It was also a good day for the Canadian women’s team pursuit squad, as it earned a place in the bronze medal match but came up short against the Brits.

You can watch the 2021 UCI Track Cycling World Championships at FloBikes.

The second day of competition began with the derny journey of the men’s keirin. Hugo Barrette was in Heat 1 of qualifying, the only one with seven riders, but he wasn’t one of the top two riders, which meant repechage. In the repechage Heat 1, Barrette was tops, going through to the second round. The Canadian raced in Heat 1, where he came last. His final race, the 7-12th place event, saw Barrette grabbing the derny’s wheel and then racing to ninth.

Hugo Barrette follows the derny on his way to ninth in the keirin.

There was a buzz in the Canadian camp when the women’s individual sprint got underway; after all, it had the Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell. In the flying lap qualifier Mitchell powered to the third fastest time, Genest was fifth, and the third member of the team sprint trio relegated on Wednesday, Sarah Orban, placed 12th. Two Germans were the fastest, with reigning world champ Emma Hinze second. Orban had to contest the 1/16 finals while Mitchell and Genest went through to the 1/8 finals.

Sadly for Orban, she faced relegation again, this time for leaving her sprint lane while competing against Alla Biletska of the Ukraine. Genest avenged Orban by promptly beating Biletska. Mitchell soundly thumped Russian Daria Shmeleva. Off to the quarter finals went the two Canadian Olympic Games medalists.

Mitchell squared off against a German who wasn’t one of the two fastest qualifiers, Pauline Sophie Grabosch, while Genest drew France’s Mathilde Gros.

Mitchell vs Grabosch

In Race 1, Mitchell timed her pounce perfectly, passing the German in the final 50 metres. Race 2 underscored Mitchell’s dominance and tactical nous; she was always out front. On to the semifinals on Friday.

Mitchell gets the better of Grabosch in Race 1.

Genest vs Gros

The French crowd was on Gros’s side. Race 1 was a cagey affair and very tight going into the bell lap, but couldn’t come through on the inside. In Race 2, Genest was tactically on point and won by a wide margin. Genest vs Gros would be the only quarterfinal to go to a rubber match. Genest drew position 2 in the decider, and made Gros look over her wrong shoulder before dropping to the inside and clawing out the victory.

After losing the first race, Genest won two straight and was off to the semis.

The women’s team pursuit squad, having qualified for the first round with the fifth best time, was comprised of Maggie Coles-Lyster, Ngaire Barraclough, Sarah van Dam and Devaney Collier taking over from Erin J. Attwell. They matched up against Switzerland. After a slower start, Canada started to crack the Swiss. However, they lost a rider before the midway point. They caught the Swiss with just under a kilometre to go.

Team Canada about to catch Switzerland with just over a kilometre to go.

With a time of 4:20.191, Canada had the third best time with one race remaining: Germany vs Ireland. Germany caught the Irish and stopped. Ireland kept riding but the green gang wouldn’t have one of the top four times. Therefore, Canada would face the Brits for bronze later in the day.

In the bronze match, the Brits led early and kept pushing out the gap. Canada kept fragmenting and finished 5.5 seconds in arrears.

The final competition of Day 2 was the women’s elimination race. Sarah van Dam, who wasn’t in the bronze medal race, represented Canada. Van Dam was in a real mob, 22 riders on the boards, and she was the second to be eliminated.