January 24, 2010 – The Canadian Track Cycling Team is returning home from China and the final World Cup of the season with two gold and two bronze medals. Tara Whitten, of Edmonton, posted the third fastest time in the individual pursuit qualifying. Not happy with her performance she came back fighting in the bronze medal match and took off more than a second from her first ride to win her match in a time of 3:40.365.
Whitten was back in the start gate a few days later with teammates Laura Brown, and Steph Roorda, both from Calgary, for the women’s team pursuit. The same team had won gold at the last World Cup and had high expectations this time around in Beijing. They felt strong and ready going in to the qualifier and posted the third fastest time with some mistakes along the way. In the bronze medal final they rode like a smooth unit to take off more than 3 seconds from their first ride and won the bronze medal while setting a new Canadian Record of 3:26.723.
Zach Bell, of Watson Lake, Yukon, finished 4th at the last World Cup in Cali in the points race and was aiming for the highest step on the podium. He won points in three of the sprints, and gained points for lapping the field in the first half of the race. With about 25 laps to go he seized an opportunity to lap the field again and won the race one lap ahead of everyone else. (Watch his Gold medal race)
Bell stood on top of the podium for the second time in two days in the Scratch Race. He rode an aggressive race and felt like “”I was a hostage in a boy scout tent my legs where tied up so bad!” Having only raced in one international scratch race this year, he was sitting 135th in the world ranking and knew he would have to place in the top 4 in order to qualify for the World Championships at the end of March. He rode a tactfully strong race and powered to the front when needed to rev it up and cross the finish line first.
Head Coach Richard Wooles is impressed with what we are seeing from our team. “We had some great results and are showing progression heading towards the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. Our medals, personal bests, and Canadian Records are a direct result of the great work that has, and is being done, on all fronts from riders, support staff and everyone involved with track cycling in Canada. Thank you all for being involved and helping our riders so far with what is building for the years ahead in Canadian track cycling. We are stretching our resources as far as we can to best prepare our athletes, but are always on the lookout for more financial and material support.”
The team focus will now be on preparing for the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark from March 24-28. Videos of all the medal winning races can be watched at www.youtube.com/canadiantrackcycling
- Men’s Sprint: Joseph Veloce 25th in 10.674 Stephane Cossette 27th in 10.698
- Men’s Kierin: Travis Smith 21st
- Men’s Team Sprint: Travis Smith, Joseph Veloce and Stephane Cossette 9th in 45.652
- Men’s Kilo: Allan Leparskas 1:06.981 (personal best by 1.5 sec)
- Men’s Points Race: Zach Bell Gold Medal
- Men’s Scratch Race: Zach Bell Gold Medal
- Women’s Sprint: Monique Sullivan 18th
- Women’s Kierin: Monique Sullivan 10th
- Women’s 500: Monique Sullivan 14th in 36.111
- Women’s Scratch Race: Stephanie Roorda 13th and Laura Brown 16th in Qualifying heats
- Women’s Individual Pursuit: Tara Whitten Bronze Medal in 3:40.365
- Women’s Points Race: Tara Whitten 8th, Stephanie Roorda 18th
- Women’s Team Pursuit: Tara Whitten, Laura Brown, Stephanie Roorda Bronze Medal and Canadian Record 3:26.723