Cycling Canada’s paracycling track program wrapped up an excellent world championships in Montichiari, Italy on Sunday with two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. Canada’s impressive performance at the last qualifying event before the Rio paralympics means that the program will have earned valuable spots at this summer’s Games. It also is an encouraging sign for the athletes’ preparation and the programs overall development.
The high-performance manager for para at Cycling Canada, Arnaud Litou said, “Cycling Canada was expecting to repeat with the silver medal from last year’s worlds, and our athletes ended up by achieving an outstanding paracycling track world championships with two gold, one silver and one bronze, plus personal bests in almost every event. Special thanks have to go to Mattamy Homes, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium for their continuous support.”
Tristen Chernove, a member of the Para NextGen program competing in his first world championships, added a second world title to his palmares on Friday in the C2 1000 m time trial. He became C2 men’s individual pursuit world champion on Thursday.
“The kilo [doesn’t have] a lot of strategy,” explained Chernove. “You just go out and push yourself as hard as you can and hope for the best. The scratch race is all about being switched on and paying a lot of attention. You want to move through and be safe at the same time. It’s hard to be here and not be blown away by the level of athleticism. Every athlete works to overcome challenges, but here the challenges are so visible, and you see how adaptive people have to be. It’s awe-inspiring.”
On Thursday, Ross Wilson earned a silver medal in the C1 men’s individual pursuit and narrowly missed taking his second medal of the championships on Friday finishing fourth in the men’s C1 1000 m time trial.
The men’s tandem pursuit squad of stoker Daniel Chalifour and his pilot Jean-Michel Lachance qualified fourth fastest and went head to head with Great Britain for the bronze medal. In the bronze medal round, their time was six seconds faster than their previous best and they set a new Canadian record while earning a bronze medal. In the 1000 m time trial, the tandem team finished 15th.
“We did the best time that we have ever done, which was amazing,” said Chalifour. “I would like to thank Jean-Michel, who has just joined me in this adventure after my previous pilot Alex [Cloutier] could not participate. You need to have two athletes dedicated to this job 100 per cent. I would like to dedicate this to my father, who has fought against cancer for the last two years – this is for you Dad.”
In other Canadian action throughout the championships, Marie-Claude Molnar finished fifth in the women’s C4 individual pursuit. “It is the race that I train for,” Molnar said of the individual pursuit. “I was sick [before the worlds], unfortunately; it’s something that happens. My coach was there to push me and it helped tremendously. I had a personal best at sea level, and I’m really glad about that.” She also raced in the C4-5 scratch race finishing 12th.
Jaye Milley finished 10th in the C1 1000 m time trial, while Michael Samets finished 14th in the C3 category in the same event. Chernove competed in the C1-2-3 scratch race on Sunday and finished seventh overall in the multi-category race. Chernove said of the event, “That was so much fun. Not my best results of the worlds, but definitely the best time of any of the races.”