Posted by Editoress on 07/7/21
Cycling Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have officially announced the names of the athletes who will represent Canada in cycling at the Tokyo Paralympics. A total of nine athletes will compete in road and track events, led by 2016 Paralympic champion Tristen Chernove, Ross Wilson, a two-time silver medalist in Rio, and 2016 Paralympic bronze medalist Shelley Gautier, who will be attending her third Paralympic Games.
Racing in the C2 category, Chernove won gold, silver and bronze medals in Rio in road and track events. Gautier, racing in the T1 trike division, has won 16 world titles in the road race and time trial events. Wilson won Paralympic silver medals on both the road and track, and has set multiple world records on the track.
"Being given the opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage is such an incredible honour," said Chernove. "It is both exciting and daunting for my first race since early 2020 to be the Paralympic Games. Performance wise, I'm always racing against myself and this rings even more true after such a long period of solo training. My goal is to be the best I have ever been, to focus on all that's within my control, and to have personal best performances in Japan."
Canada has three riders competing in the men's H3 category - two-time Paralympic bronze medalist Charles Moreau plus first time Games attendees Joey Desjardins and Alex Hyndman.
Joining Gautier in the trike division is Marie-Ève Croteau, who will be racing T2. Croteau will be competing in her second Games, having finished just outside the medals in fourth place in 2016. It will be her third Paralympic appearance.
The final category that Canada has entries in is the women's C4, where Kate O'Brien and Keely Shaw will compete. Both are relatively new to Para-cycling competition, with Shaw starting in 2016 and O'Brien in 2019. Shaw competes on both the road and track, and won a silver medal at the Track world championships in 2019.
While Kate O'Brien is new to Para-cycling, she is a veteran at international competition. O'Brien just missed qualifying for the 2014 Winter Olympics in bobsled and switched to track cycling, where she went to the 2016 Rio Games, finishing sixth in the Team Sprint, as well as winning gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games. A serious training accident ended her able-body career, but she fought back to become a para athlete, and set world records in both the 200 metre and 500 metre Time Trial, becoming the world champion and a favourite for Tokyo.
"I'm so excited to be representing Canada at the Tokyo Paralympic Games!" said O'Brien. "Without the doctors, nurses, medical team, as well as my family, friends, and community, I would not have had this opportunity to wear the maple leaf again; thank you to them for all they have done. This past year and a half has been extremely difficult for all Canadians. I would love to win gold and aim for another world record, but my main goal is to send out a huge thank you to everyone who has helped me get back to this sport that I love."
Canada earned eight athlete slots for the Tokyo Games through qualification points gained at world cups and world championships between January 1, 2018 and March 3, 2020. An additional spot was received through bipartite commission invitation, which was allocated to Gautier.
"Our Paralympic nominees, comprised of both rookies and veterans, will support each other in order to perform at these Games," said Sébastien Travers, Para cycling head coach. "Although some of our selected athletes have not raced internationally in the last 18 months, they have maintained a high level of training and we are confident in their progress. We will be going to Tokyo with the goal of achieving medal performances, both at the Izu Velodrome and the Fuji Speedway."
The track events (time trial and individual pursuit) will run from August 25th to 28th, with Chernove, O'Brien, Shaw, and Wilson set to race for Canada. Competition will then shift to the road (time trial and road race) from August 31st to September 3rd, with Chernove, Croteau, Desjardins, Gautier, Hyndman, Moreau, Shaw, and Wilson on the docket.
Cycling was Canada's most successful sport at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, winning nine medals (one gold, three silvers, and five bronze). Eight of those podium performances were from team members returning for the Tokyo Games.
Tristen Chernove - C2* - Cranbrook, BC
Marie-Ève Croteau - T2 - Québec City, QC
Joey Desjardins - H3 - Hawkesbury, ON
Shelley Gautier - T1 - Toronto, ON
Alex Hyndman - H3 - Morpeth, ON
Charles Moreau - H3 - Victoriaville, QC
Kate O'Brien - C4* - Calgary, AB
Keely Shaw - C4 - Midale, SK
Ross Wilson - C1 - Sherwood Park, AB
*pending classification in Tokyo
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