Canada finished sixth in the Women’s Team Pursuit on Thursday at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Hong Kong. It was a disappointing result for the squad that has finished in the medals at the world championships every year since 2012, and has won two Olympic bronze medals.
On Wednesday, the team qualified third, leaving the possibility open to making the gold medal race. However, in the round of eight teams on Thursday, Canada could only manage the sixth fastest time, putting them out of contention for either the gold/silver or bronze finals later in the evening. The Olympic champion British team also missed the medal rounds.
The team of Laura Brown, Jasmin Duehring, Annie Foreman-Mackey and Kirsti Lay had a strong start against Australia, taking the lead for the first 3250 metres of the 4000 metre race, before fading in the final three laps. Australia would win the silver medal behind the United States.
“I won’t say it is a complete surprise,” admitted Craig Griffin, Women’s Track Endurance Coach. “The depth of field here is such that we knew coming in it was going to be tough. The girls rode their hearts out and that’s all I can ask as a coach. We didn’t have the length of preparation that we usually have, so we knew we were less than optimally prepared.”
“As the women’s sport develops the depth of field is going to continue to increase, and this is great for the sport and women’s cycling in general. I’m really happy to see this get tougher, but it means we can’t expect to be on the podium all the time either. This is a wake up call for everyone. So now we have to get back to reality and see who’s prepared to do what over the next three years.”
In other competition, Kate O’Brien qualified 14th in the Women’s Sprint 200 metre time trial, with a time of 11.106 seconds. She won her first round race against Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands, but then faced reigning Olympic champion Kristina Vogel of Germany in the next round. O’Brien rode a tactically smart race, but was just beaten by a strong rider. Hugo Barrette did not advance past the first round of the Men’s Keirin, finishing fifth in his first race and fourth in the second.
“Worlds can be a funny thing,” said Erin Hartwell, Sprint Coach. “Last night’s Team Sprint [where Canada finished a career-high fifth in the women and a disappointing 15th in the men] took a lot out of everyone, so we saw a bit of flatness today. For Hugo, we still have some tactical work to do with the new Keirin format.”
“For Kate, she is a little bit sick and we are trying to deal with that. She has two days to recover for Sunday’s Keirin. She wasn’t on top of her form and it was reflected in her performances. It’s always going to be hard going up against someone like [Vogel]; that’s a hard second ride. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that tactically Kate’s getting better and better every race.”
Story and Photo from Cycling Canada | cyclingcanada.ca