The XXI Commonwealth Games were held in Gold Coast, Australia from April 5-14 and featured some of the top cycling countries in the world, including Team Canada, which named 18 athletes in total. With 22 events, this was the first time in Games history that women and men contested the same number of medals. The track races kicked off the cycling events at the Anna Meares Velodrome from April 5-8. Over the four days of competition, athletes battled for 16 medal events – eight each for both the men and women. With top trackcycling nations such as Great Britain, New Zealand and host nation Australia on the boards, the competition was guaranteed to be fierce.
Canada’s cycling program had an excellent start to the Games, winning bronze in both the men’s and women’s Team Pursuit. The women’s team of Allison Beveridge, Ariane Bonhomme, Annie Foreman-Mackey and Steph Roorda had been performing all season at international events with high hopes for the Games. The team narrowly missed qualifying for the gold-medal final, but regrouped to win bronze ahead of England in a time of 4:21.493. In the final, Australia caught New Zealand, taking both the gold and setting a new Commonwealth Games record.
The Canadian men’s team has been ecstatic with their improvement since 2014. The youthful team of Michael Foley, Derek Gee, Adam Jamieson, Jay Lamoureux and substitute Aidan Caves bested Wales to take the bronze medal in a time of 4:00:440. Host nation Australia took the gold medal in a world-record time, defeating England.
The Team Sprints were also held on Day One, with both Canadian men’s and women’s teams in action. Amelia Walsh and Lauriane Genest set the fourth-fastest time in qualifying, but were disqualified for an exchange out of the allowed zone. The men’s team of Hugo Barrette, Stefan Ritter and Patrice St-Louis qualified for the bronze final, but lost to Australia in their quest to reach the podium. In the gold-medal final, New Zealand defeated England.
Day Two began with Genest of Levis, Que. just missing out on a medal in the women’s sprint. Genest defied all expectations by breaking the Commonwealth Games and Canadian record in qualifying, but would lose by just centimetres in the semifinals to Natasha Hansen of New Zealand, qualifying her for the bronze-medal final against Kaarle McCulloch of Australia. Genest was beaten in two rides by a tactically superior opponent.
Also featured on Day Two was the men’s Keirin, where Ritter finished seventh, while Ontario’s Foreman-Mackey also placed seventh in the women’s Individual Pursuit, setting a personal best in the process. Jamieson was Canada’s top finisher in the men’s Individual Pursuit, placing 15th.
The third day of competition saw Team Canada place inside the top 10 on three occasions, with Kinley Gibson delivering a superb ride in the women’s
Points race, finishing eighth. Genest and Walsh finished in ninth and 10th respectively in the women’s 500 metres.
Canada struggled in the men’s Scratch race and sprint. Caves and Foley did not finish the 60-lap race, while both sprinters – Ritter and Barrette – were knocked out in the first round of competition.
April 8 held the fourth and final day of track cycling. Canada’s Walsh made the medal final in the women’s Keirin and finished fifth overall, while her teammate Genest won the Small final, finishing seventh. Beveridge also placed seventh in the Scratch race, as Amy Cure of Australia won the gold.
Australia added its third medal of the day in the men’s 1,000 metres, with Matt Glaetzer setting a Games’ record time. Ritter was the top Canadian in 14th place. The track cycling concluded with the men’s Points race. Both Foley and Lamoureux qualified in their respective heats, with Lamoureux displaying an aggressive ride in the final to finish 14th.
After a short one-day break, road cycling began with the time-trial event on April 10. Canada’s Foreman-Mackey finished seventh on the challenging 25.5km course through Currumbin Beach at 3:51.82 behind gold-medalist Katrin Garfoot of Australia. Linda Villumsen of New Zealand took the silver, while the other Canadians Bonhomme and Roorda finished 13th and 14th respectively. In the men’s 38.5km time trial, Cameron Meyer of Australia took home the gold, with top Canadian performer Lamoureux finishing 14th at 4:33.95 down. Gee was close behind in 18th.
Both the men’s and women’s road races were held on April 14, wrapping up the cycling events for 2018. Foreman-Mackey was once again Canada’s top finisher, arriving in 17th place, with Australian Chloe Hosking winning gold for the home nation. In the men’s race, Foley was the only Canadian finisher over the 168km course. It was tough field, filled with WorldTour riders, yet Australian Steele Von Hoff won the sprint out of a select group. Australia had an incredibly successful campaign, winning every event in the road-cycling discipline.
The mountain-bike event was on April 12, featuring Canadians Emily Batty, Haley Smith and Léandre Bouchard and held at the Nerang Mountain Bike Trails. The fast and flowy 4.6km course had few technical elements, but did feature a narrow climb near the beginning of the race.
In the women’s six-lap, 27.6km event, Smith battled back from a difficult start to overtake teammate Batty for the bronze. The English duo of Annie Last and Evie Richards dominated the race, taking gold and silver.
The men raced seven laps, covering 32.2km. New Zealanders Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze took an early lead, while Canada’s Bouchard got caught behind traffic on the first climb. Gaze took the win ahead of Cooper, and Bouchard would narrowly miss out on fifth place after losing the sprint to Frazer Clacherty of England.
The Canadian cycling program wrapped up a successful 10 days of racing with three bronze medals, placing it sixth in cycling, and contributing to Canada’s fourth place in the total medal tally. The Commonwealth Games will move to Birmingham, England for 2022.
Canadian women’s Team Pursuit
Canadian men’s Team Pursuit
Canadian men’s Team Sprint
Women’s MTB XCO podium