May 6/08 9:42 am - Tuft Wins Second Medal at Pan Ams
Posted by Editor on 05/6/08
Tuft Wins Second Medal at Pan Ams - Report
Courtesy Dan Proulx
Svein Tuft won a second gold medal at the Pan American Cycling Championships in Montevideo, Uruguay today. Tuft took the gold medal in the Men's Points Race ahead of Daniel Halloway of the United States and Antonio Cabrera of Chile (Note: full results posted earlier). Zach Bell was fourth and was an integral part of Svein's win tonight.
Canada had two strong contenders in the race and two shots at winning. The field was primarily concerned with Zach Bell. Bell launched several attacks in the early part of the race - winning four of the first eight sprints. Zach made several attempts to get away and lap the field but each move was brought back. Bell was a marked rider. Everyone was extra vigilant when he hit the front of the race.
At the midway point of the race, Zach and Svein were part of an eight man break that took a full lap on the field (worth an automatic 20 points). The move included both Cabrera and Halloway. The race was down to eight serious riders in contention for a medal.
Midway through the race, Svein chased down a move that was attempting to take a second lap on the field. Cabrera and Halloway were in it. The group eventually lapped the field for a second time. This move put Svein into the lead by just one point over Cabrera and Halloway.
Three quarters of the race in, a dangerous move got off the front again. It contained Halloway and three lower ranked riders. The group quickly gained a half lap on the main field - threatening to take a full lap and gain a further 20 points. If the move was successful it would have put Tuft into second place with almost no chance to come back.
Zach, Svein and Cabrera chased hard at the front of the main field without assistance from any other riders. Eventually they were able to bring back Halloway's breakaway. From the sidelines, it was an agonizingly long chase. Tuft remarked, "We knew we could bring them back in. We weren't going to let them take the lap."
The breakaway with Halloway was captured with 6 laps to go in the race. Svein was still leading the race by just one point over Halloway at this point. The final sprint was critical to preserving the win for Tuft. Down the back-straight it was Halloway who made the first acceleration - riding for Gold. Tuft stayed calm and powered over top of the sprinters lane drawing even with Halloway's shoulder midway through turn four. Svein's momentum carried him through to get second in the final sprint. Halloway finished 5th and did not score points. Gold to Tuft - his second win of the 2008 Pan American Championships!!!
The victory for Tuft was a team effort. Riding breathless around the apron, Bell's only concern was that Svein had won. Bell rode hard in support of the Gold Medal. It was great to see these two racing so hard out there.
Tomorrow the competition resumes at 2pm with the Madison. The final day of competition will be Thursday where Zach Bell will represent Canada in the Omnium competition.
Competition at the Pan American's will conclude this weekend with the time trial and road race. The courses will be challenging. The coast line is windy and the competition will fierce. Team Canada is up for the challenge.
Note: Zach Bell has just confirmed that the Canadians have been added to the Madison field. David Vellieux is scheduled to join Svien Tuft and Zach Bell for the road events.