Posted by Editoress on 02/27/18
On Wednesday, the 2017-18 track season will conclude with the biggest event of the year - the world championships. This year the Worlds return to the Omnisport Centre in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, the same location as 2011. Canada has brought a team of 14 athletes - seven women and seven men - who will compete across the Sprint and Endurance disciplines.
While the real intensity for the track world will not begin until the next season (starting the with the World Cups this Fall) when the Olympic qualifying period opens, the build up is already apparent, as can be seen by the over 400 athletes from 40 countries (235 men and 172 women) that are registered for these Championships, an increase of over 30 riders from last year.
For the second time, titles will be awarded across 20 events, with the addition of the Women's Madison last year bringing parity to the programme for men and women. This year will also celebrate 60 years of women competing at the world championships, from the beginnings in 1958, when only the Sprint and Individual Pursuit were contested.
In the Sprint events, Canada has three riders entered. Amelia Walsh, is the lone woman to qualify for Canada and will compete in the Sprint. Hugo Barrette, a multiple time World Cup medalist, will compete in the men's Sprint and Keirin, while Stefan Ritter will compete in the Sprint and the 1000 metre Time Trial. Ritter is a former Junior world champion in the 1000m, and the current Junior world record holder for that event.
All women's defending champions are registered to return - Kristina Vogel of Germany who won the Sprint and Keirin, and Daria Shmeleva of Russia, who won the 500m and the Team Sprint with Anastasiia Voinova.
Rio triple gold medalist Jason Kenny of Great Britain has returned to the men's competition after taking a hiatus from competition, but he will go up against the defending champions, all of whom are scheduled to race in Apeldoorn. Sprint champion Denis Dmitriev (Russia), 1000m winner Francois Pervis (France), Keirin champion Azizul Hasni Awang (Malaysia), and the complete Team Sprint squad from New Zealand will be in attendance - Edward Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster.
The Canadian women's endurance team has been consistently ranked among the best in the world over the past two Olympic cycles, and the six riders who will represent Canada in Apeldoorn promise to continue that tradition. The team is led by Olympic bronze medalists Allison Beveridge and Jasmin Duehring. In addition to the Team Pursuit, riders will compete in a number of other events, including the Madison, Points Race and Omnium. Jasmin Duehring will race the Points, Scratch and Madison, with Allison Beveridge joining her for the Madison and Beveridge also doing the Omnium. Kinley Gibson and Annie Foreman-Mackey will race the Individual Pursuit.
Women Team Pursuit squad
Internationally, Great Britain's Laura Kenny (nee Trott), who won the Omnium and was a key member of the record-setting Team Pursuit squad at the Rio Olympics, returns to competition after having a baby with husband Jason Kenny, so it will be interesting to see how she fares. However, she will go up against a field that includes all the defending world champions. The women's Madison, now in its second year, will see inaugural world champions Jolien D'hoore and Lotte Kopecky of Belgium face increased competition as more countries participate in this 2020 Olympic event.
The Canadian men's track endurance squad continues to show remarkable growth, including a World Cup victory and a silver medal last season. All five athletes are selected for the Team Pursuit, with Derek Gee and Jay Lamoureux also competing in the Individual Pursuit. A last minute spot opened up for Canada to have an entrant in the Omnium, with Aidan Caves getting the nod.
Among the top contenders, Australia, who won three titles last year, have sent a very small squad as they prepare for the Commonwealth Games in their home country, with only defending Points Race champion Cameron Meyer attending. The remaining defending titleholders will be in attendance - Adrian Teklinski of Poland (Scratch Race) and Benjamin Thomas of France, who won the Omnium and the Points Race with Morgan Kneisky.
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