Posted by Editoress on 07/24/16
Team Canada concluded the Junior Track Cycling World Championships on Sunday in Aigle, Switzerland, with two bronze medal performances to go with the gold and silver medals already achieved. This is Canada's best ever performance at the Junior Track World Championships, including the first ever Junior world title.
Stefan Ritter of Edmonton, Alberta, took bronze in the Men's Sprint, his second medal after winning the world title in the 1000 metre time trial. Ritter raced against Mateusz Milek of Poland in the bronze medal competition, winning in two straight rides. Bradly Knipe of New Zealand beat Conor Rowley of Australia for the gold medal.
"On this track it's very hard to come from the back," explained Ritter, "so I went from the front. It was hard because it's at the end of the Worlds and a lot of racing; I did seven sprints today. But it's pretty amazing to come away with two medals."
"To win gold at a Worlds is simply amazing. Every cyclist dreams of pulling on the rainbow jersey and on Friday I got the pleasure of doing so! The fact that I'm Junior Kilo World Champion still hasn't fully set in yet. It is truly a remarkable feeling. [In the Sprint] I knew I was one of the fastest in terms of raw speed, but I don't have a lot of tactical experience at this level. For me to follow the Kilo win up with bronze in the sprint was huge."
"To represent Canada is always an immense pleasure. Wearing the maple leaf is truly an honour and every time I pull on the Canadian jersey it is an incredibly special feeling. I would like to go to Tokyo in 2020. That's the main goal, however there's still a lot of work that needs to put in for it to become a reality."
Maggie Coles-Lyster of Maple ridge, BC, took bronze in the Women's Omnium, coming back from a crash midway through the final event, the Points Race. Coles-Lyster was the top scoring rider in the final event, moving to within four points of silver medalist Michaela Drummond by the finish. Elisa Balsamo of Italy took the gold medal.
"I was third going into the Points Race, but there were other riders right behind me, so it was pretty close," said Coles-Lyster. "But I know there was a chance to move into the silver medal or possibly even the gold. So I took as many points as possible early in the race [winning three of the first four sprints]. Then I got caught in a crash in the middle of the race, but got back into the race and was able to get enough points to keep third. I'm really happy, because this was my first Worlds and I didn't know what to expect."
"Junior Track World Championships was the most incredible week of racing that I have ever experienced. Ever since I started riding the track at 10 years old, my big goal (besides the Olympics) was to go to Track Worlds as soon as I was eligible. I faced some of the hardest racing, both mentally and physically, this past week, which included 3 rides that brought our Team Pursuit team to a fourth place, 6 omnium events with 2 crashes which resulted in me finishing off the final Points Race with pieces of the track still in my leg, and most proudly, a bronze medal. I wasn't sure what to expect going into Worlds, but I battled my hardest and the end result leaves me feeling so proud of what I accomplished and a racer who has gotten a taste of the next level and is yearning for more!"
"Today has epitomized our performances here in Aigle," said Ian Melvin, Team Canada Coach. "Our kids have had to work hard for all of their rewards, they showed a lot of fight and determination. I'm thrilled to see us come home with four medals but beyond that, we've set personal bests and national records almost across the board. We couldn't ask for anymore from these riders; I'm incredibly proud of them all."
"Hopefully this group has shown the rest of the world that we can compete with anybody out there; they've created a springboard for themselves and also for this Junior program. We have to keep working hard through the winter to ensure that the gaps we still have are addressed and that we continue to improve."
"The performances in Aigle this past week are a testament that we are on the right track with regards to our Junior programs," stated Jacques Landry, Director of High Performance at Cycling Canada. "Our track programs are attracting more and more talent emerging from clubs and provinces across Canada. Once talent is identified through our national racing scene we are able to maximize that potential through specialization on the boards in Milton."
"There is no secret to this success at these Junior Track Worlds. The performances are due to talent being identified and nurtured in clubs and provinces, to eventually be prepped for international success. Hats off to the athletes, and to the coaching and support staff, for these great Worlds!"
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