2016 Rio Par­a­lympic Games

Cycling was Canada's top-per­form­ing sport at the 2016 Par­a­lympic Games in Rio, Brazil, Sept. 7-18, with nine medals of a to­tal 29 – a record for the na­tion. Led by Tris­ten Ch­er­nove's three medals, the para-cycling team con­trib­uted 31% of Canada's to­tal me

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by San­dra Wal­ter

In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit

The cycling ac­tion in Rio started on the track at the velo­drome built ex­pressly for the 2016 Games. Canada's medal wind­fall be­gan on Day Two of com­pe­ti­tion with two sil­vers. Wil­son of Ed­mon­ton, Alta. col­lected sil­ver be­hind Li Zhangyu (CHN) in the men's 3,000-me­tre C1 In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit af­ter qual­i­fy­ing sec­ond to Zhangyu, who set a world record. In the fi­nal, Wil­son was caught, au­to­mat­i­cally end­ing the race.

“I rode the fastest I have ever rid­den, so I think I can be proud and hold my head high,” said Wil­son. “I think it's pretty cool to win the first medal and I hope this opens the flood­gates.”

Wil­son's words were prophetic, as the team's sec­ond sil­ver came shortly af­ter from Ch­er­nove of Cran­brook, B.C. in the men's 3,000-me­tre C2 In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit. Ch­er­nove fin­ished less than three sec­onds be­hind the win­ner, Liang Gui­hua (CHN).

Sametz of Cal­gary, Alta. landed a berth in the ride for bronze af­ter he qual­i­fied third in the 3,000-me­tre C3 com­pe­ti­tion, but Clif­ford Eoghan (IRL) bested Sametz when it counted and the Cana­dian had to set­tle for a solid fourth. David Ni­cholas (AUS) won gold.

In other Cana­dian In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit re­sults, Marie-Claude Mol­nar of Le­moyne, Que. pow­ered to fifth in the women's 3,000-me­tre C4 con­test. Matched in qual­i­fy­ing with world-record holder and even­tual gold-medal­ist Shawn Morelli (USA), Mol­nar clocked the fifth-fastest time, which was not quite quick enough to move on to the medal rounds.

Ni­cole Cler­mont of Laval, Que. fin­ished ninth in the women's 3,000me­tre C5 In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit qual­i­fier and did not ad­vance. Win­ner Sarah Storey (GBR) set a new world record with a time of three min­utes, 31.394 sec­onds.

Daniel Chal­i­four of Ste-Therese, Que. and pilot Jean-Michel Lachance of Que­bec City, Que. qual­i­fied ninth in the men's 4,000-me­tre B tan­dem In­di­vid­ual Pur­suit. They missed out on the medal rounds, as Great Bri­tain's Steve Bate and pilot Adam Dug­gleby set a world record in qual­i­fy­ing and went on to se­cure gold.

Time Trial

Ch­er­nove kept the mo­men­tum go­ing from the track with an in­spired ride in the men's 1,000-me­tre time trial, set­ting a new Par­a­lympic record in his C2 cat­e­gory with a time of one minute, 14.716 sec­onds. Af­ter times were fac­tored in the Com­bined C1, C2 and C3 com­pe­ti­tion, Ch­er­nove was ranked third over­all be­hind the win­ner, C1 rider Zhangyu, who set a world record in the process. Canada's Wil­son fin­ished 15th, fol­lowed by Sametz in 17th.

Time Trial

The time trial was the first of the para-cycling road dis­ci­plines, held in the sea­side Pon­tal dis­trict of Rio de Janeiro. Cana­di­ans had a stel­lar day, scor­ing five medals in the event.

On a truly hot streak, Ch­er­nove won Canada's first cycling gold of the Par­a­lympics in the men's 20km C2 race, com­plet­ing the course nearly 20 sec­onds faster than sec­ond-place Colin Lynch (IRL). It was Ch­er­nove's third medal of the Par­a­lympic Games, af­ter win­ning sil­ver and bronze in the track com­pe­ti­tions.

“You only get th­ese mo­ments so of­ten in life, and I wanted to have a pos­i­tive out­look and be in the moment, and not let the anx­i­eties or pres­sures get to me,” said Ch­er­nove. “That re­ally hap­pened today, and that made all the dif­fer­ence. I just wanted to have a great bike ride in a beau­ti­ful place.”

Wil­son added to the hard­ware count with a sil­ver-medal per­for­mance in the men's 20km C1 com­pe­ti­tion, won by Michael Teu­ber (GER).

The medals kept com­ing for Canada, as Moreau snapped up a bronze in the men's 20km H3 com­pe­ti­tion. Gold went to Vit­to­rio Podesta (ITA).

Sametz went on to pick up an­other bronze for Canada in the men's 30km C3 event, 19.49 sec­onds be­hind ri­val and gold-medal win­ner Clif­ford.

Gau­tier of Toronto, Ont. col­lected Canada's fi­nal medal of the day with a bronze in the Com­bined women's 15km T1-T2 time trial. Gau­tier, the only T1 in the com­pe­ti­tion, fin­ished 39.47 sec­onds be­hind gold-medal win­ner Carol Cooke (AUS), with sil­ver medal­ist Jill Walsh (USA) a mere 1.2 sec­onds faster than Gau­tier. Fel­low Canuck Marie-Eve Croteau took sixth in the event.

In other Cana­dian re­sults, Mol­nar fin­ished a strong fifth in the women's 20km C4 and Cler­mont rode to eighth in the women's C5 time tri­als. Robbi Wel­don and pilot Au­drey Lemieux fin­ished sev­enth, and team­mates Shawna Ryan and pilot Joanie Caron fin­ished 13th in the women's 30km B tan­dem com­pe­ti­tion, while their male coun­ter­parts, Chal­i­four and Lachance, fin­ished 15th in the men's 30km B con­test.

Road Race

The para-cycling road races were also held in Pon­tal, on cour­ses that fea­tured the scenic water­front Av. Lu­cio Costa, while some cat­e­gories also tack­led the challenging steep, twisty Cir­cuito Gri­mari.

The high­light of the day for Canada came when Moreau snagged bronze in a six-rider sprint fin­ish in the men's 60km H3 road race. Paolo Cec­chetto (ITA) took the vic­tory.

“Yes­ter­day [the time trial] was good – it was my first medal in Par­a­lympics – but I ex­pected bet­ter, I thought I could have pushed more. But today, with this bronze, I am ec­static. I couldn't ask for more today,” said Moreau.

Croteau de­liv­ered Canada's top per­for­mance in the women's T1-T2 Com­bined-cat­e­gory road race. Croteau and her team­mate, Gau­tier, fin­ished fourth and sixth, re­spec­tively, in the 30km com­pe­ti­tion won by Cooke. Gau­tier was the only T1 com­peti­tor in the bunch.

“I am very proud of my race,” said Croteau. “I didn't miss it [the podium] by very much, and hon­estly it had been a while since I last rode in a pack.”

Of her race, Gau­tier said: “I was the only T1 out there. I was able to stay with them [T2 rid­ers] for a short while and then I was com­ing back, but the race ended be­fore I could get to them.”

Canada's team leader, Ch­er­nove, over­came a crash in the Com­bined men's 71.1km C1, C2 and C3 road race, fin­ish­ing 15th over­all and third C2. In the lap-one tum­ble, Ch­er­nove suf­fered a sep­a­rated shoul­der and a dam­aged bike, but he per­se­vered to com­plete his race.

De­spite his mishap, Ch­er­nove, said, “My front-de­railleur cable was bro­ken and I had no front shift­ing, so I only had my small chain­ring for the whole race and had to spin at a re­ally high rate the whole time. But I fought my way back to 15th, so I'm re­ally proud of my ef­fort and had to dig deep.”

St­ef­fen Warias (GER), a C3 rider, cap­tured the gold medal. Cana­di­ans Wil­son and Sametz did not fin­ish.

Cana­dian women's B tan­dem squad rid­ers Wel­don of Thun­der Bay, Ont. and her pilot Lemieux of Alma, Que. were the top fin­ish­ers for Canada on the fi­nal day of cycling com­pe­ti­tion, pedal­ing to fifth place in the women's 69km event.

“It was a very good race, we were both super-pleased,” said Wel­don. “Af­ter all our hill train­ing, the hills felt much eas­ier and we were able to stay with the climbers, which was one of our goals. To fin­ish top-five . . . we are super-happy with that.”

Their team­mates Ryan of Saska­toon, Sask. and Caron of Ri­mouski, Que. fin­ished 12th as the Pol­ish duo of Iwona Pod­ko­scielna and Alek­san­dra Te­claw earned the gold medal.

Chal­i­four and Lachance did not fin­ish af­ter a crash in the men's 99km B tan­dem event, which was won by Vin­cent ter Schure and Timo Fransen of The Nether­lands.

“We were in the top five or six af­ter the first big climb, but then on the de­scent, our front wheel ex­ploded. We were both a bit in­jured in the crash, so we de­cided that we could not fin­ish the race,” said Lachance.

Mol­nar fin­ished 16th in the women's 72km C4, C5 road race af­ter bravely rid­ing in a break­away for the first hour. Cler­mont did not fin­ish due to a crash.

“All in all, we started off with a goal of three medals when we started the quad af­ter Lon­don [2012 Par­a­lympic Games], and we tripled that goal. Mid­way through the quad, we upped our goals, but we never thought that nine medals would have been pos­si­ble,” said Landry of the squad's his­toric Par­a­lympic Games show­ing.

Tris­ten Ch­er­nove led the Cana­di­ans with an im­pres­sive medal haul, in­clud­ing gold, sil­ver and bronze medals.

(above) Charles Moreau added a sec­ond bronze to his medal tally in the men’s 60km H3 road race. (left) Shel­ley Gau­tier was sixth in the women’s T1 2 road race. (above) Marie-Eve Croteau (front) was just off the podium, fin­ish­ing fourth in the women's T1 2 road race. (left) Robbi Wel­don and her pilot Au­drey Lemieux were the top fin­ish­ers for Canada in the women’s 69km B road race, fin­ish­ing fifth.

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