Posted by Editoress on 03/18/16
Canada followed up its double medal opening day at the Para-cycling Track World Championships, in Montichiari, Italy, with two more medals on Day 2, including a second world title for C2 rider Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook, B.C. The tandem team of Daniel Chalifour (Mont-Laurier, QC) and Jean-Michel Lachance (Quebec, QC) added a bronze medal to Canada's total.
Chernove, a member of the Para NextGen program competing at his first world championships, won the Individual Pursuit title on Thursday. On Friday, his time of one minute and 13.279 seconds for the 1000 metre Time Trial was over two seconds faster then second place Xie Hao of China, the defending champion. Louis Rolfe of Great Britain took the bronze medal. Chernove also qualified for Saturday's final in the Scratch Race, after avoiding a crash and finishing fourth in his qualifying race.
“The Kilo [doesn't have] a lot of strategy,” explained Chernove, “you just go out and push yourself as hard as you can and hope for the best. The Scratch Race is all about being switched on and paying a lot of attention. You want to move through [to the Final] and be safe at the same time. It's hard to be here and not be blown away by the level of athleticism. Every athlete works to overcome challenges, but here the challenges are so visible, and you see how adaptive people have to be. It's awe-inspiring.”
In the Men's Tandem Pursuit, the Canadian squad qualified fourth, setting up a race against third fastest qualifier Great Britain for the bronze medal. Chalifour and Lachance took the bronze medal race with a time of 4:17.409, 1.26 seconds faster then Great Britain. Australia took the gold medal over Spain. The Canadian time was nearly six seconds faster then their previous best time, and a new Canadian record.
“Today we did two times the best time that we have ever done, which was amazing,” said Chalifour. “I would like to thank Jean-Michel, who has just joined me in this adventure after my previous pilot Alex [Cloutier] could not participate. You need to have two athletes dedicated to this job 100%. I would like to dedicate this to my father, who has fought against cancer for the last two years - this is for you Dad.”
“It was a very nice ride,” said Lachance. “We qualified fourth and had a personal best by almost six seconds. It was a hard race because against the Italians [in qualifying] we caught them but could not pass them [properly] and lost almost two seconds which could have cost us a ride in the [gold medal] final. In the [bronze medal] final we replicated that effort and won the bronze medal, so we are pretty happy.”
Ross Wilson of Edmonton, AB, just missed taking his second medal of the championships when he finished fourth in the Men's C1 1000 metre Time Trial with a time of 1:21.851. Jaye Milley of Calgary, AB, finished tenth in the same event. Michael Sametz of Calgary, AB, finished 14th in the Men's C3 1000 metre Time Trial.
“The race went very well today,” said Milley. “It was absolutely phenomenal to race among the best para-cyclists in the world. World records were broken here today. My ride went well, but it wasn't a personal best, unfortunately, but I had a personal best in the Pursuit yesterday, which was my main focus. I want to say a personal thank you to the Cycling Canada staff - you are the backbone of the team, and we would not be able to do what we do without you.”
National Para Coach, Eric van den Eynde, also commented on the success of the team in the first two days of competition: “Today, like yesterday, was another good day. The tandem was more of a surprise today; they are a new team, and the only expectation was to beat the Canadian record of 4:23. I thought that there were three teams that were untouchable, and that we were in the next group. But then we finished fourth [in qualifying] and were into the race [for bronze]."
“Tristen was a professional athlete before [he became a para athlete], so he knows how to train and that really pays off. What we see now is only the beginning of what he will be.”
Canada now has two gold, one silver and one bronze medal in two days of competition.
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