Posted by Editoress on 08/20/10
Canada had a strong day on Friday at the Para-cycling World Championships in Baie-Comeau, Quebec, with one silver, one bronze and two fourth place finishes in individual time trial competition.
In the women's 22.8 kilometre tandem event, which pairs a sighted rider with a visually impaired rider, Lyne Bessette and Robbi Weldon finished less than three seconds behind the Dutch team of Nynke Troelstra and Joleen Hakker, with a second Canadian squad of Emilie Roy and Genevieve Ouelette finishing third at 16.12 seconds.
Lyne Bessette and Robbi Weldon
"This is only our third race together," explained Bessette, "so we keep improving every time. For sure this put us in a strong position for the road race on Sunday, having two such powerful teams in the race."
Weldon, who only began cycling a few months ago, after switching from cross-country skiing, saw this result as a stepping stone to the 2012 Paralympics.
"I contacted the Canadian [cycling] federation about racing, and they invited me to a training camp. I couldn't have a better driver than Lyne, and I think this definitely puts us on track for the London Games."
Weldon is a natural athlete, who is also a competitive cross-country skier in the winter months. She competed at the Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, placing in fourth, fifth and sixth places throughout the Games.
"I enjoy both cycling and cross-country skiing. The two sports are a great combination and we'll see how things go. At Nationals, we had about one hour practice together before the race, and we were fortunate to train and be coached in Bromont for ten days. Every day is getting better and better, so it’s a good feeling going into Sunday."
For Ouellet and Roy it was a seesaw battle for the final medal spot, and they were still waiting for confirmation of their bronze medal ten minutes after the race.
"This result means that it paid off to have worked hard all summer, to have trained at every opportunity and to have received all the support and infrastructure for the para-cycling program," said Ouellet
"Right from the start, I felt we were riding well, riding fast. My feelings were really good throughout the race, and at every moment I asked myself if I was going as fast I as could in that moment. Emilie and I train together twice a week, on the tandem, in Québec City, and we spent the last ten days going at it every day at the training camp."
Alexandre Cloutier and Daniel Chalifour
In the men's tandem event, Alexandre Cloutier and Daniel Chalifour were only 17-hundredths of a second out of the bronze medal position. The Spanish team of Jaime Morales and David Blanco Leal won the title. Brayden MacDougall finished fourth in the C1 category, after riding in third for much of the race. His team mate Jaye Milley was sixth.
In the C2 category, Paralympic hall of famer Arnold Boldt, a dean of technology in a technical college in Saskatchewan, completed the race in seventh place. Matthieu Parent placed 10th in the same category. In C5, Marc Breton was 16th.
- Shimano techs are marveling at the ingenious uses their Di2 electronic road shifting system has been put to for riders who would have difficulty shifting gears normally. They commented that teams have come up with adaptations that are totally unexpected and very creative.
- There have been delays in results each day, but it isn't due to timing problems. Unlike other cycling disciplines that have only age and gender categories, Para has many categories based on level or type of disability. Riders are classified accordingly, but protests can be made that an athlete is not in the proper category. A special set of officials (called Classifiers...) then have to review the situation and, at times, have reclassified a rider after watching them race.
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