Posted by Editor on 08/3/21
For the first time since the women's Team Pursuit was added to the Olympic Games, Canada will not win a medal, falling to the USA in the bronze medal final. The women rode extremely strongly after a poor qualifying round, smashing the Canadian record with a time of 4:09.249, over three seconds faster then the previous record. In the men's Team Pursuit first round Canada also broke their record with a time of 3:46.769 .
Canada changed their lineup for the women's first round, replacing Jasmin Duehring with Ariane Bonhomme. Their Canadian record time was faster then the old world record prior to these Games and put them in the bronze medal against the United States. The Canadian time was also faster then the U.S. time from qualifying.
The race was extremely tight through the first 3500m, with the U.S. jumping out to an early lead and then Canada pulling them back. The lead then switched back and forth, but the U.S. ace in the hole was Chloe Dygert, who took massive pulls at the front, towing the their team around.
In the end, the Canadians finally splintered on the final lap, with Georgia Simmerling dropping Annie Foreman-Mackey and Ariane Bonhomme; Allison Beveridge was gone earlier after pulling the team through much of the first 2000 metres. It was a very strong ride by Canada, but not quite enough to win their third consecutive bronze medal.
The men's competition saw Canada step up their game again, winning the first heat against Germany with a new personal best (on Derek Gee's birthday). Australia surpassed them in second round, but Canada was still in potential bronze medal position. The third heat saw Italy (3:42.307) and New Zealand (3:42.397) both smash the world record, with Italy going to the gold medal final and New Zealand guaranteed to race in the bronze medal final. However, the final heat between defending champions Great Britain and world record holders Denmark (prior to the previous heat) saw a bizarre incident occur that took almost an hour to resolve.
Denmark was on another possible world record pace, catching the Brits, who had fallen apart, with their third rider dropped by the other two; both teams were down to three riders. The lead Danish rider had his head down as he was about to catch the last Brit and ran into him, causing a crash. The Danes had caught the Brits, so looked to be through to the gold medal final, but by crashing into the British rider, neither team had three riders anymore - were the Danes to be disqualified for running into the British? If the Danes got to go through to the gold medal race, what about the Brits, who had no chance to set a time, and were thus denied the opportunity to qualify for the bronze final? They were well off the pace, but still, they had no time at all....
In the end, Denmark will meet Italy for gold, and Great Britain finished last, after their dropped rider came back down the track to complete the final laps for them. New Zealand and Australia have the fastest time for bronze, followed by Canada, who will race tomorrow against Germany (who they beat by two seconds).
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