Posted by Editoress on 07/17/20
Today is the latest in our series - Race Revisit - where we return to a past event that took place on (or around) this date. As well as a recap of the event and links to our original coverage - race reports, results, photos and video interviews - we will also be including comments and in-depth commentary from some of the Canadian athletes who were there.
The Pan American Games are not usually a major focus for the Canadian high performance program, since the cycling events do not offer much in the way of UCI points - unlike the annual Pan Am Continental Championships in each discipline. However, the 2015 edition took place in the GTA, the Greater Toronto Area, and included the use of the newly built international level velodrome in Milton, as well as an international level BMX track in Etobicoke and a new track north of Barrie at Hardwood Ski and Bike. In addition to allowing Canadian cyclists a rare opportunity to shine at home, it also gave the high performance cycling program a chance for a dry run at the processes and protocols to be used the following year at the Olympic Games in Rio.
Canadian cyclists had a remarkable Pan Am Games, winning a total of 20 medals, including 11 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze. Canada won at least one medal in every single event except two. It is an impressive collection of hardware.
We started our Pan Am Games coverage with Raphael Gagne's gold medal in the men's mountain bike. Today, we continue with Jasmin Duehring [Jasmin Glaesser at the time], who won gold medals in the Team Pursuit and Road Race, and silver medals in the Omnium and Time Trial.
Duehring is one of the veterans of the Canadian women's track squad, with a bronze medal in the Team Pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio Games, as well as numerous world championships and World Cup medals, including a world championship silver in the women's Points Race. On the road, she has won multiple national titles and national podiums, as well as racing professionally for various teams.
The Canadian women's endurance track squad came into the 2015 Pan Am Games as one of the top-ranked teams, along with the U.S. team anchored by Sarah Hammer. The endurance program opened with the Team Pursuit, and the Canadian squad of Duehring, Laura Brown, Kirsti Lay and Allison Beveridge qualified first with a time of 4:24.368, 0.683 seconds faster than the Americans, with Mexico a very distant third, nearly 13 seconds back. After easily beating Cuba in the next round, the Canadians were up against the U.S. for the gold medal. The Americans matched the Canadians pedal stroke for pedal stroke in the first half of the final, taking the lead on some laps. But then the U.S. squad began to crack, losing one rider before completely falling apart, with Hammer riding alone off the front and the team barely managing to avoid being caught. Mexico beat Cuba for bronze.
Team Pursuit Report 1
Team Pursuit Report 2
The Omnium was run under the old six events over two days format. Duehring was fifth in the opening Scratch Race, second in the Individual Pursuit and won the Elimination Race to sit second to Sarah Hammer at the end of the first day with 109 points to Hammer's 113. On Day 2, Cuba's Marlies Mjias won both the 500m TT and the Flying Lap to move into second place before the final Points Race. Mejias scored early points to increase her hold on second place over Duehring, but the Canadian rider waited until the second half of the race, when she took a lap with Christina Greve (Argentina) and Lizbeth Salazar (Mexico). Mejias missed the lap gain, putting Duehring solidly in the silver medal spot behind Hammer, with Mejias just holding on for bronze.
Omnium Report Day 1
Omnium Results Day 1
Omnium Report 2
Omnium Results Day 2
Following the track events, attention shifted to the road for first the Time Trial and then the Road Race. The 20 kilometre time trial circuit in Milton was almost square and flat, except for two small rollers halfway through. Riders faced strong gusting wind, with a tailwind on the first leg, headwind on the third and cross wind on the other two. The women did one lap and the men two. In the TT, Canada's Laura Brown set the first sub-28 minute time, to finish fourth. Evelyn Garcia (El Salvador) held the lead until Duehring came across the line, 19 seconds faster. Duehring, due to her flat, had only the fourth fastest time at the first split, 25 seconds behind American Kelly Catlin. The Canadian improved to second fastest for the remainder of the race, but still lost a further 11 seconds, to finish 35 seconds behind Catlin, who was the only rider to post a sub-27 minute time for the day - 26:25.58, 35.73 seconds faster than Duehring.
Time Trial Report
Time Trial Results
The road races were the final cycling events of the Games, and took place in the west end of Toronto, with the start/finish of the 16.5 kilometre circuit on Lakeshore Blvd, going through High Park and residential streets next to the park. The women did five laps for 82.5 kilometres and the men ten laps for 165 kilometres. The women's race started out conservatively with Canada and Cuba, the two strongest teams, covering any small moves. A brief rain shower dampened the roads through High Park, but they dried out within a lap. The decisive move happened near the end of Lap 3, when Duehring attacked and Marlies Mejias bridged across. The U.S. tried to chase but, without the support of Canada and Cuba, they could not close the gap, and Lauren Tamayo crashing into a parked bike at the start of the final lap did not help. The two leaders went over a minute clear, but as they entered the final half lap began to play cat and mouse. Mejias, based on the track events, was clearly the faster sprinter, however, Duehring played it smart, forcing the Cuban to the front. Out of the final corner, the pair weaved across the road, with Mejias trying to get Duehring into the lead. The Canadian was patient and with less then 200 metres to go jumped from the back and held off Mejias at the line. Canada's Allison Beveridge easily won the field sprint for the bronze.
Road Race Report
Road Race Results
Jasmin spoke to us from her home in the Orange County area near Los Angeles.
The fact that we had home court advantage and to be part of the lead up with the opening of the Milton velodrome meant that the anticipation was beginning long before the event even started. We did a really big lead up; this was a super important event for us. We treated it pretty much like an Olympics in terms of the planning that went into it and the preparation.
Once it got started, the success wasn't just limited to cycling. Team Canada in general put on a phenomenal performance. I remember we would watch other athletes compete before cycling [sessions] started and it would just inspire us to put our best foot forward. We definitely tried to channel that when we raced for the Team Pursuit gold medal against the Americans. They've always been one of our biggest rivals, and they brought a strong line up, but I think that's where knowing the track a bit better and having put an emphasis on the event gave us the winning edge. I think it was definitely one of my most memorable Team Pursuit finals racing against the Americans. It was close in qualifying, and then we almost caught them in the Final. So I think it was great for us and great for the crowd.
For me, Pan Am Games was the first ... I mean it wasn't technically an international competition, in the sense that it was home in Canada ... but it was the first big race that my mom came to, and for me it was really special having her in the audience. All the parents were lined up on the home straight, so they were just going crazy before the start of the Final, yelling at us. Curt Harnett was sitting with them, and he told me afterwards just how crazy the parents went in the Finals cheering us on. It was pretty cool to have everyone there.
The Omnium was never really an event I had specialized in, but at the time I was going pretty well in general, so it made sense to enter me for that event as well. That was still the old-style Omnium format, with a lot of emphasis on the shorter timed events like the Flying Lap and the 500, which are definitely not my strengths. But, I did my best and again I think I just thrived on the momentum of the Games as a whole and the success of cycling within the Games. I remember seeing amazing performances by our Sprint program - I think that was kind of their first big step to becoming the top level program that they are now. The Pan Am Games was that first standout performance for them that boosted them to where they are now.
So just feeding off that energy I think I did the best I could in the Omnium ... going up against Sarah Hammer, who at the time was one of the best Omnium riders in the world, I think I was pretty satisfied to get a silver medal along side her. It made for some exciting racing; I think it was the first time ever that there was a tie in the Elimination because the photo finish couldn't separate us.
I was definitely going for gold in the time trial. My focus had been preparing mostly for the track events, but at the same time I knew I was going pretty good and that a gold medal was within reach. But I had a front flat on the course at one of the most critical points. There was one little dip in the road [followed by] a steep little climb. My front flat came just as I started climbing out of that dip, so you lose all of your momentum. With the wheel change and everything, by the time I got back on my bike I think Kelly had me within sight, which definitely makes it pretty tough to get away. But looking back on that race, I now have a totally different set of emotions with Kelly's unfortunate passing [sadly, Catlin committed suicide in 2019]. Where once, maybe I was disappointed at the results, now I feel that maybe that result was meant to be, for her to be on the top step of the podium. I'm glad now that I get to remember the event as such, and just have that memory of racing with her and standing on the podium with her.
In the road race, we had a goal to just race super aggressively. It wasn't an easy circuit, and we didn't want it to come down to a bunch sprint. We agreed that we would stick to that race plan, no matter what. We were a team of three with Kirsti and Allison, and anytime you have a team of three and decide to race like that you have to be all in; it's all or nothing. Of course, you are hurting yourself, but eventually you tire people out and I think a lot of times teams give up before that point comes; they say, 'oh, this strategy isn't working' and they throw it out the window. But every single one of us stuck to it and just kept attacking, kept attacking, until ultimately, it just so happened that I was able to get away with Marlies from Cuba.
I know Marlies very well, and I know that she had been very disappointed to finish behind me in the Omnium on the track, so she rode phenomenally that day. I really had a hard time staying with her, but knowing how much work my team mates had done to get me in that break ... and it could have just as easily been one of them, so I had a lot to answer for. I distinctly remember the Team Canada follow car with [coach] Craig Griffin ... he just yelled at me in the final few kilometres. Marlies is quite a good sprinter and I have no idea how I managed sprinting past her at the end. That has to just be, being in Toronto, having home town crowds on the side ... because she is a phenomenal sprinter and I am definitely not! Maybe it was timing, but it wasn't sprinting prowess on my part.
That was an amazing feeling; just edging her out in the sprint. It was a huge sense of relief after the work we had put in as a team, because I know the other girls deserved for us to take home a gold medal for our combined efforts. It was up to me at that point to make it happen. And then, to hear that Allison won the bunch sprint for third place and to be on the podium together was extra special.
Across the board, a lot of [Canadian] sports had amazing performances, and a lot of athletes stood out for the first time at Toronto 2015. Now, they are household names in Canada; whether as a result of their performances in Canada or whether they were able to up their game since then. Having that opportunity to have that little bit of an advantage from racing on home soil, you get that great result, and you have the confidence of knowing that you can go up against the best and you can put out amazing times or performances.
I think those Games have left a lasting legacy on summer sport in Canada. It is a big reason for the successes Canada had in 2016 at the Olympics; getting that confidence boost a year out, and that extra bit of motivation knowing that they can compete with the best for the win. That was definitely the case for cycling.
Previous Race revisits
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