August 19/09 9:31 am - Track Nationals Preview
Posted by on 08/19/09
Olympic team member Zach Bell of Watson Lake, Yukon, and Worlds medalist Tara Whitten of Edmonton, headline the track cycling national championships set for August 24-30 in Burnaby, B.C., at the Burnaby Velodrome.
National titles will be contested in numerous events at the indoor velodrome Events include the 500-metre and Kilo individual time trial, Individual Pursuit and Team Pursuit, Points Race, the always exciting Keirin, Match Sprint and Team Sprint, the Scratch Race, the Madison and the Omnium.
Competition features races at the elite, junior, under-17 and Masters levels for men and women.
With the international track season kicking off at the end of October, the Canadian national championships serve to launch the 2009-2010 season. The competition and the training camps that follow will help determine the Canadian team for the World Cup circuit, which starts October 30th in Manchester, England.
Canada's track cyclists competed at one major event this summer, the Pan American championships in Mexico. The Canadians placed an impressive third in nation standings with 11 medals, and broke five national records. Whitten, a world championship medalist in the Omnium this past March, led the charge earning five medals, including two gold and setting a championships record in the individual pursuit, which automatically earned her a start position for the world championships next March in Copenhagen.
"There's a lot of motivation and positive energy in Canadian track cycling with our recent international success," said Jacques Landry, chief technical officer for the Canadian Cycling Association. "We had 14 riders at Pan Ams, which was a huge team for us. It's going to be a very exciting Nationals to watch our riders continue to grow and improve."
Other top contenders at the elite level in women's competition include Monique Sullivan of Calgary, Laurie-Anne Dupont-Renaud of Montreal and Laura Brown of Victoria.
On the men's side, Bell won the silver medal at the world championships in the Omnium and was seventh in the points race at last year's Olympics. This summer he's been keeping sharp racing on the pro road circuit, including an overall win at the prestigious Fitchburg Longsjo and Wilmington Grand Prix.
Other favourites on the men's side include Travis Smith of Calgary, a bronze medallist in the Kilo at the Pan Ams in Canadian record time, David Boily of Quebec City, and Joe Veloce of Fonthill, Ont.