August 8/97 20:27 pm - Track Nationals
Posted by Editor on 08/8/97
Here is the story on the Track Nationals, in the words of Curt Harnett, multiple Olympic medal winner and a world record holder. (See full results in yesterdayâ€šs posting)
Calgary, usually confronting cowpokes and doggies around this time of year, found they were dealing with a different kind of animal on the first long weekend of August - Cyclists!
The Tim Hortonâ€šs National Track Chamionships rolled into town and brought with it some of the most promising and talented riders the provinces have to offer.
As far as rider attendance was concerned, the organizers didnâ€št see record numbers, but what they and the spectators in attendance did see was, perhaps, one of the most fiercely competitive Nationals ever held in Canada - at any level.
On Friday morning the event was jump started with a final - the Junior and Senior Womenâ€šs 500 meter. Due to some previously disclosed training times and recent international results, the much heralded battle for supremacy in the Senior Womenâ€šs category between Tanya Dubnicoff of Manitoba and Lori Anne Muenzer from Ontario didnâ€št disappoint. Dubnicoff was off early in the event, posting a blistering Canadian record of 36.332 seconds. Michelle Boucher, sister of the unorthodox ex-National Team Member Al Boucher, followed with a respectable 38.330. Boucher held onto second until Muenzer, the final rider, posted the second quickest time of 37.179. Our first National Champion was crowned in Dubnicoff. Somewhat impressed with her own performance, Dubnicoff showed that her form is well on its way to a peak for the upcoming Worldâ€šs (Perth, Australia at the end of August). Erin Carter (Manitoba) showed her dominance in the Junior Womenâ€šs field by posting a 40.047, more than 3 seconds faster than second place (and upgraded Junior) Jennifer Pilzecker (Ontario), and 4 seconds faster than third Lysanne Delogne from Calgaryâ€šs Development Centre - the NTCDC.
From one set of finals we strolled straight into the next set with the Junior and Senior menâ€šs 1000 meter time trial. Once again; this was no cakewalk. The Juniors would pit rivals Alistar Howard (BC) against David Gluzman (AB). It wasnâ€št until defending champion Howard completed his turn that a National Champion was crowned. In what was a perfect day for time trials, Howard posted a blistering 1:11.819 to take the crown over Gluzman (1:13.156) and Charles Dionne (QC), 1:15.192. In the Senior menâ€šs race, yet another rivalry has developed over the year, with Jason Buczny (AB) attempting to de-throne multi-National Champion Doug Baron (AB). With respectable times being posted during the competition, especially that of eventual third place finisher Jim Fisher (AB, 1:09.43), who was riding this weekend with a fractured collarbone, both Buczny and defending champion Baron had their work cut out for them. Once again, as with the Juniors, the defending champ came through, posting an excellent 1:07.48, narrowly defeating Buczny by six one-hundreths of a second! Just try to blink that fast!
The evening session saw the Senior Menâ€šs Points Race final. Once again, the battle between riders from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia did not disappoint. Tim Hadfield (ON), Glen Reddle (ON), Yannick Cojan (QC), Mark Ernsting (BC), Troy Delfs (AB) and a field of over 30 riders gave the spectators a race to remember. From the firing of the starterâ€šs pistol, it was tip of the saddle all the way. The battle never seemed to let up until the 40 kilometres was complete, and the race was not decided until the final sprint was contested and the points tallied. It was race full of attack after attack that kept each and every rider on their toes. It truly was a racerâ€šs race. Yannick Cojan, of Espoirs de Laval, won the final double points sprint and the title. Ernsting placed a hard fought second, and Hadfield was third.
Saturday saw the start of the sprint rounds, the continuance of the pursuits, and the Junior Menâ€šs and Pomenâ€šs Points Races. All the riders that were expected to proceeded through the rounds, with no real surprises. Carter dominated the women, and Gluzman the men. What proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend was the Junior Womenâ€šs sprinting; from start to finish, these young women battled some of the most tactical races seen since the years of Anton Tkac and Daniel Morelon (ed. note - am I the only one who knows these riders?). It truly was sprinting at its best!
Sunday lived up to the high expectations everyone had. With a series of Sprint, Pursuit, Keirin and Madison finals all needing to play themselves out - without any clear-cut favourites - high hopes of an exciting day of racing clearly held their merit.
The Junior Womenâ€šs Match Sprint maintained its momentum, with favourite Carter victorious over upstart Pilzecker, and Tarra McKenzie (NTCDC) taking two straight over training partner Delogne for the Bronze. The Senior women saw former World Champion Dubnicoff regain her national championship title from last yearâ€šs titleholder Muenzer. In what proved to be the series of the weekend, newcomer Boucher defeated Kafi Dublin (BC) two rides to one to take the Junior Womenâ€šs title in the best of three final. For the Junior Men, it was Quebec sensation Dionne defeating Chris Bentley (AB) two straight for the gold, and 16 year old Graham Flater (BC) taking the bronze from fellow islander (and Junior upgrade) Peter Odegaard in two straight. In the Senior Menâ€šs final, Baron held off Buczny to retain his title, and Keith Bruneau (Black Cat) defeated Daniele â€žJackâ€° DeFranceschi (ON) to bring home the bronze.
In the Pursuits, multi-talented Carter took the Junior Womenâ€šs 2000 meter over Pilzecker. In the Junior Menâ€šs race, the battle between Gluzman, who set a Canadian record in qualifying (3:38.730), and Howard peaked during what became another high point of the weekend, when Gluzman narrowly defeated Howard by six one-hundreths of a second! It was couple of tense moments as the officials checked over the timing tape and photo finish to make sure the results were correct! Needless to say, it is a final that will be talked about for some time to come. In the Senior Womenâ€šs event, Mandy Poitras (BC) had control from start to finish over newcomer Lyne Bessette (QC). Paul Henderson (BC) showed tremendous focus during the Senior Menâ€šs Pursuit, capturing the gold medal over Matthew Hanson (ON), and emotionally thanked his mom after receiving his medal, knowing full well that most people listening could appreciate the moment.
New full medal events, the Keirin and Madison, didnâ€št disappoint. The Keirin lived up to its fast and furious reputation as Buczny claimed the victory and National title over Baron and DeFranceschi. In the Madison, Ontarioâ€šs Hadfield and Rendall overcame attrition to defeat silver medallists Bob Cameron and Ernsting of British Columbia. In the Senior Womenâ€šs Points Race, Ontarioâ€šs Allyson Fox rode an aggressive and heartfelt race to capture her first National title, defeating a hard charging Stephanie Hannos (BC) and Pursuit runnerup Bessette.
The Junior Team Pursuit saw Quebec defeat British Columbia in the final, with Ontario victorious over B.C. in the Senior event. The Olympic sprint saw B.C. redeeming itself against Quebec in the Juniors and Alberta crushing B.C. in the Seniors category.
All in all, it truly was a magnificent weekend for racing. All of the competitors came prepared and rose to the occasion. It was one of the best contested National Championships that I can remember seeing, and I truly believe that we saw the future of Canadian cycling over the course of the weekend. Our Junior riders showed maturity and control, while some of the seasoned veterans showed us how it is done.
Tour de France VTT
Stage 7, Beaune-Saugues - 70 km
1. Martinez (Fra) 2:35:44
2. Dupouey (Fra) at 4:54
3. Kristensen (Den) 5:25
4. Orcel (Fra) 5:29
5. Manin (Fra) s.t.
1. Kristensen 12:58:51
2. Savignoni (Fra) at 4:47
3. Cadel Evans (Australia) 7:05
4. Dupouey 15:45
5. Martinez 21:45