Posted by Editoress on 10/8/10
On the last day of competition at the velodrome, Canada was looking to compete with the Australians at the track in cycling, and Canadian riders Tara Whitten and Zach Bell used each other as inspiration to win two bronze medals.
At the last two individual opportunities for medals in track, Canadians had entries in both the women's individual pursuit and the men's scratch race.
First up, Whitten competed in the 3,000m individual pursuit. Whitten competed against Wendy Houvenaghel of Northern Ireland, the current World and Olympic silver medallist. Whitten rode strong and steady and qualified to compete for a bronze medal with a time of 3:36.548. The top qualifying time was 3:32.114 posted by Alison Shanks of New Zealand.
In the bronze medal final, Whitten competed against Jamie Nielson of New Zealand. Whitten, who loves the track events most, won bronze with a time of 3:35.810. The gold medal was won by Alison Shanks of New Zealand with a time of 3:28.00, ahead of Houvenaghel.
Whitten was pleased with the bronze as she has been training hardest for the endurance races, and thinks her cross country skiing background could have trained her well.
"I am relatively new to cycling, and I think that cross country skiing gave me an edge," said Whitten. "I am tired but happy, and looking forward to a day off before the road events."
At the last track race in Delhi, the 80 lap men's scratch race, Zach Bell rode a strategic race and won bronze. The men's scratch race is an endurance race covering 20 km. Bell, who had had some challenges earlier in the week in the men's points race, rallied to bounce back and win bronze behind Michael Freiberg and Cameron Meyer of Australia.
"Going into it, I knew that it would be a tough fight to stay with the Aussies, it was tooth and nail," said Bell. "It is tough to be in a scratch race with no other Canadians, I knew with the lessons learned in the points race and a little bit of luck, I had a good chance to medal."
At the end of both races, both Whitten and Bell talked of the support they received from their coaches and the other team members.
"I have been inspired by the way Tara has been riding," said Bell. "As a team, we take turns inspiring each other and being there for each other."
With the track events done, both riders will compete in the road race and time trials.
Zach Bell - Bronze Medal, Men's Scratch Race
"Great day to finish off on the track, especially against the numbers that were out there. It will be a good boost for the confidence moving forward for the rest of the week and the rest of the year. Thanks for all the support from the Canadian team staff for their hard work. And a huge thanks to all the support from back home in Vancouver and the Yukon. Days like this are possible because many people make them possible."
Tara Whitten - Bronze Medal, Women's Pursuit
"I am really happy the way the week has gone and I am looking forward to the road events now. It's been a lot of fun so far and more to come. Thanks to everyone for all the help..."
Photos courtesy Richard Wooles/CCA
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