Leah Kirchmann took the silver medal in the women’s road race on the final day of the 2012 UCI Pan-American Championships on Sunday in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. After 90 kilometers of racing, Kirchmann crossed the finish line in second place of a bunch sprint won by Cuban rider Yumari Gonzalez. Janildes Fernandez of Brazil was third and USA’s Shelley Olds took fourth.
“I’m really excited that I won a silver for Canada. It’s one of my greatest achievements and it was one of my targeted races this season. The team worked really well together. We wanted a break so we played well off each other by continually attacking and putting pressure on the group. The Americans wanted a sprint so they brought back a lot of the attacks. It worked well for us in the end,” said Kirchmann, the 2011 Canadian Criterium Champion and winner of the 2011 Tour of Elk Grove.
“I really enjoyed my time in Argentina. The staff made our time easy as they were so helpful – we were well taken care of,” added Kirchmann who races for Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.
Denise Kelly, Head coach of the Canadian Road Cycling Team, is happy with this podium performance. “I couldn’t be happier with the overall success of the team. Motivation was high all through the week, and the team cohesion was great and the athletes performed their best. It’s a great start to the season for us.”
The 12-lap, 90-kilometer race took place on a 7.5 kilometer circuit, which featured a sharp, 200m ascent soon after the start finish line, the biggest challenge for the riders.
The other five Canadians in the race all placed in the top 20. Rhae-Christie Shaw (Exergy Twenty12), Heather Logan-Sprenger (Exergy Twenty12), Karol-Ann Camuel, Denise Ramsden (Optum-KBS) and Joanie Caron finished 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th and 20th respectively. For the USA, newly crowned Continental Time Trial Champion Amber Neben (Specialized-lululemon), Beth Newell (NOW and Novartis for MS), and Coryn Rivera (Exergy Twenty12) finished 22nd, 25th, and 29th respectively.
In the final event, both the elite and U23 raced at the same on the 165-kilometer course. With a sixth-place finish in the bunch sprint, Rob Bush (Chipotle Development Team) was the highest placed American rider in the U23 contest won by Arnold Olabarria of Chile. Grabbing the silver and bronze medals were Carlos Quishpe of Ecuador and Fabrizio Von Nacher of Mexico. Americans Ty Magner (TT1), Matthew Lipscomb (Hincapie Development Team), and Nathan Brown (Trek-Livestrong) were 16th, 17th, and 18th respectively.
Brothers Maximiliano and Mauro Richeze of Argentina went 1-2 in the Elite men’s race. Fabian Aguilar of Uruguay was third. Canada did not send a men’s team to the Pan Am Road events.
Final tally. In the final tally of medals over the track and road events, the United States of America finished in third place with 14 medals (three gold, three silver and eight bronze) and Canada was fourth with three gold, three silver and one bronze medals for a total of seven medals. Chile took home the most gold medals, five, and two silver and one bronze medals.