12 Medals for Canada at Pan Am Track Championships
2017 Pan American Track Championships
eld at the newly constructed National Cycling Centre in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, the Pan Am Track Cycling Championships on Aug. 30-Sept. 3 hosted a banner performance by the Canadian team as they start to rebuild after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Canada finished second in the medals’ table, tied with the U.S. with 12 medals apiece, but winning five gold medals versus seven for the Americans.
The tournament started with a bang for Canada, as both Team Pursuit squads crushed the field, winning both titles. The women (Kinley Gibson, Arianne Bonhomme, Devaney Collier and Meghan Grant) finished ahead of Mexico and Cuba, while the Canadian men (Aidan Caves, Jay Lamoureux, Derek Gee and Bayley Simpson) beat a resurgent American team for gold, while Chile took the bronze. It’s worth noting that the American team was composed of some of the top domestic talent, including Tour of Utah stage winner Eric Young. For the women, this was the first major win by an entirely NextGen-member roster – a key step in Canada retaining its position internationally.
The lone male sprinter for Canada at the event was Hugo Barrette, and he didn’t disappoint, winning the Match sprint competition and finishing second in the Keirin. Barrette battled Fabian Puerta of Colombia in both events, with Puerta taking home the win in the Keirin. Unsung cyclist Jair Tjon En Fa of Suriname took home the bronze in the sprint competition.
The Canadian men transferred their Team Pursuit dominance to yet another event, with Gee and Lamoureaux qualifying first and second in the Individual Pursuit. Unfortunately, Lamoureaux did not get to contest the gold-medal final against his teammate, as he broke his collarbone in an ugly crash in the men’s Points race immediately prior to the Pursuit finals, leaving Gee uncontested for the win. The Points race was won by the U.S.A.’s Young.
The men’s Omnium was a wild affair with confusion during the final race of the event, as the electronic scoreboard was showing inaccurate results for much of the race. Thankfully Team Canada’s coaching staff was videoing the entire event for review, and officials literally had to re-watch and re-score the entire Points race for more than an hour after the event’s conclusion to determine the correct results. When the dust settled, Caves of B.C. took the silver behind Ignacio Prado of Mexico and ahead of bronze medalist Thomas Praddo of Argentina. While Caves was the defending champion in this event, it’s worth noting that the format is remarkably different from the event he won last year, as all of the individual timed races have been removed from the schedule.
Caves’ golden streak was short-lived however, as he was brought down in a heavy crash in the men’s Madison event, which was won by the American team of Zachary Kovalcik and Zachary Carlson, ahead of the perennially strong Argentinians and Colombians.
Local fans were given something to cheer about as the Trinidad and Tobago Team sprint squad finished second behind Colombia and ahead of Argentina. Trinidad added a second medal with a bronze, as Quincy Alexander finished third in the Kilo, which was won by fastman Puerta of Colombia.
If there was an individual standout in the women’s field, it was American Jennifer Valente, who took home the gold in the Omnium, Scratch and Points race events. In doing so, she made a significant difference in assisting the Americans at topping the medal standings. Yet Canada put up a strong fight, as Steph Roorda took the bronze medal in the Points race, while compatriot Allison Beveridge repeated that result in the Scratch race. Beveridge also competed in a hotly contested Omnium, where she finished fourth.
However Beveridge and Roorda showed the depth of the Canadian program in winning the Omnium ahead of the American duo of Kimberly Geist
and Kimberly Zubris. The bronze medal went to the Mexican pairing of Mayra Rocha and Sofia Arreola, who is teammate of Roorda on TWENTY20 Pro team.
A horrific training accident suffered by Kate O’Brien meant that Amelia Walsh was Canada’s lone sprinter at this tournament. It was a baptism of fire for the crossover BMX athlete but valuable experience, as she begins her transition into international track competition. Walsh combined forces with the versatile Roorda to take home a silver medal in the Team sprint behind the American team of Madalyn Godby and Mandy Marquardt.
NextGen Endurance Program member Collier jumped at the opportunity to ride in the women’s Keirin. The young Endurance rider (a former Junior Worlds silver medalist) turned heads, making the gold-medal final and finishing fifth. Countrywoman Walsh finished 12th in the 7-12th final.
The Championships were a remarkable success for the Canadian program, especially given the number of young or developing riders who were given the opportunity to compete.
“These past Pan Am Championships in Trinidad and Tobago have yielded some of our greatest results since we’ve started participating in the Continental Championships during the London Olympic Quadrennial,” commented Jacques Landry, Chief Technical Officer and head coach for Cycling Canada.
“For our track program, it is always hard to strike a balance between performing at the Championships to qualify for World Championships and offering this event to some of our Development Performance Pool athletes for development purposes. I think we’ve achieved this balance at these Pan American Track
Steph Roorda and Allison Beveridge showed the depth of the Canadian program in winning the women’s Omnium.
(l-r): Jay Lamoureux, Aidan Caves, Ian Melvin (NexGen coach),Derek Gee and Bayley Simpson
Canadian women’s Team Pursuit
Amelia Walsh and Steph Roorda took home a silver medal in the Team Sprint.
Hugo Barrette won the men’s Match sprint and finished second in the Keirin.