Posted by Editoress on 12/13/09
Team Canada had a strong finish to the third World Cup track event on the UCI calendar. After a disappointing first day of racing, Tara Whitten came back in the Individual Pursuit and qualified for the final with the second fastest time, 0.083 seconds faster than Maria Luisa Calle Williams of Colombia. The gold medal ride saw Tara paired with American Sarah Hammer (a former world champion), with the Canadian winning the silver medal.
In the points race, Tara was tied for fourth place with eight laps to go, when she broke away with a New Zealand and Italian rider. She proceeded to drop the Kiwi and rode away from Georgia Bronzini to win the final sprint and the silver medal. Bronzini won gold based on points.
Monique Sullivan raced the 500 metres in a time of 35.509, 2.5 seconds faster than her bronze medal ride at the Canadian National Championships in August, to finish in a respectable seventh place.
Travis Smith and Joseph Veloce, who was competing in his first World Cup, had a strong start to the sprint competition with, respectively, the fourth and tenth fastest 200 metre times of 10.276 and 10.513 . Joseph gained valuable tactical racing experience as he moved on to the B semi-finals on his way to a 13th place finish. Travis rode with more confidence than at the Melbourne World Cup a few weeks earlier, and found himself in the bronze medal final where he was relegated on the first ride and lost the second ride against German Maximillian Levy to finish in fourth.
The final day of racing was full of excitement. The Canadian pursuit and sprint teams have been working really hard on speed, exchanges and technique, and were ready to compete. First up was the men's team pursuit team of Zach Bell, Jacob Schwingboth, Mark MacDonald, and Tim Sherstobitoff. The men made some mistakes, but finished with a new Canadian Record of 4:18.458 for tenth place.
Monique Sullivan finished her three days of racing with a fifth place in the Keirin. She has been battling injuries this year and has noticed great improvements at every training camp leading in to her first World Cup of the season where she proved to be race ready.
Zach Bell entered his last race of the World Cup ready to be aggressive and win. He qualified for the scratch race final with a sixth place in his heat and when the final event began later in the day he was feeling ready. He broke away from the group in an attempt to lap the field and cross the line in victory, but with a few laps left the pack chased him down, caught him, and Zach finished 13th.
The men's team sprint team of Travis Smith, Joseph Veloce, and Stephane Cossette were ready to fight for a medal, and fight they did! Racing at almost 60 km/hr, they finished the qualifying heat in a time of 45.393, the third best of the day. They were paired with the Ukraine for the bronze medal final and, although the Canadians raced almost a full second faster than at the Panamerican Championships in Mexico in July, Ukraine rode a little faster still and Canada finished fourth.
The women's team pursuit was the last event of the competition and the Canadian team of Tara Whitten, Laura Brown, and Steph Roorda was fired up and ready to go. The team rode close to perfect technique and had the fastest qualifying time and a new Canadian record of 3:27.659. They raced against the US team in the gold medal final and had the faster opening kilometre, were sitting in second after two kilometres, and then came back to best their Canadian record with a 3:27.289, more than a second faster than their competition to win the gold medal in the newly named Olympic event.
Head Coach Richard Wooles felt the team performed slightly better than expected over the three day competition. "The near misses are encouraging," commented Richard, and "almost everyone had a personal best. There were new Canadian records set, so the team is getting faster, but the men's team pursuit was far from perfect and everyone still has a lot of room for improvement."
The Canadian team will race in the fourth and final World Cup in Beijing January 21-24, 2010 and then the focus of the track program will be on preparing for the World Championships in Copenhagen, March 26-28.
Full team results from the third World Cup are listed below.
Olympic Events - Men:
Sprint: Travis Smith 4th, Joseph Veloce 13th
Keirin: Travis Smith 7th
Team Sprint: Travis Smith, Joseph Veloce, Stephane Cossette 4th (45.576 – new Canadian Record)
Team Pursuit: Zach Bell, Jacob Schwingboth, Mark MacDonald, Tim Sherstobitoff 10th (4:18.458 – new Canadian Record)
Omnium: not contested at World Cups
Non-Olympic Events – Men:
Points Race: Zach Bell 4th
Scratch Race: Zach Bell 13th
Kilo: Stephane Cossette 11th (1:04.096)
Olympic Events – Women:
Sprint: Monique Sullivan 13th
Keirin: Monique Sullivan 5th
Team Sprint: no Canadian Team entered
Team Pursuit: Tara Whitten, Laura Brown, Steph Roorda Gold (3:27.289 – new Canadian Record)
Omnium: not contested at World cups
Non-Olympic Events – Women:
Individual Pursuit: Tara Whitten Silver (3:34.547)
Points Race: Tara Whitten Silver
Scratch Race: Tara Whitten 17th
500 metre: Monique Sullivan 7th (35.509)
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