March 17, 2016 (Montichiari, ITA) – Canada is off to a strong start at the Para-cycling Track World Championships in Montichiari, Italy. On Thursday, the first day of competition, Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook, BC, won the Men’s C2 Individual Pursuit title, while Ross Wilson of Edmonton, AB, took the silver medal in the Men’s C1 Individual Pursuit competition. These championships are the final qualification event for the track competition at the Paralympics that will take place later this year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Chernove, who is attending his first Track Worlds, was the dominant rider in his category, qualifying first with a time of 3:43.609, almost five seconds faster then the second place rider, Colin Lynch of Ireland. Despite a protest that tried to have him reclassified to C3 between the qualifier and the gold medal final – which was denied by officials – Chernove went on to beat Lynch by over nine seconds to win the world title.
“The race was great,” said Chernove. “Obviously, anytime you accomplish what you were going for it feels great. The whole day was fantastic. This was my first time competing at a world level event, and it’s been a big day of learning. I’m just thankful to all the people who got me here; especially my family and colleagues. Without all those people behind me, I couldn’t have been here.”
In the Men’s C1 competition, Ross Wilson came in as the defending silver medalist. Wilson faced the same athlete who beat him for the world title last year – Zhangyu Li of China. Li proved once again to be the strongest in qualifying, beating second placed Wilson by 2.618 seconds, and then again in the gold medal race, however, Wilson significantly closed the time gap from the previous year, showing strong improvement as he builds towards the Paralympics.
“I think the qualifier went very well,” commented Wilson. “I knew I was on really good form coming into this event; I’ve done a lot of work with my coach, Cam Jennings. Having the chance to work in the Milton velodrome has allowed us to move forward and really develop my track riding skills. I didn’t expect to be within striking distance of a world record. I think it shows that Cycling Canada has really elevated its game.”
In other Canadian action, Marie-Claude Molnar of Montreal, QC, was eighth in the Women’s C5 500m Time Trial, with a time of 43.218 seconds. Michael Sametz of Calgary, AB, was also eighth, in the Men’s C3 Individual Pursuit, with a time of 3:43.040. Jaye Milley of Calgary, AB, also competed in the Men’s C1 Individual Pursuit, finishing seventh, with a time of 4:11.767.