This was Canada’s eighth cycling gold medal and Barrette’s second gold at these Games as he won the Team Sprint with Evan Carey and Joseph Veloce on Day 1. Watching everything unfold was legendary Gord Singleton, who won the same event for Canada back in 1979 at the Pan Am Games in Puerto Rico. Singleton is also the first Canadian rider to win a world championship title which he accomplished back in 1982 in the UK winning the men’s Keirin.
Barrette had to earn his place in the Sprint final despite an auspicious start as he rocked the crowd yesterday when he became the first – and currently only rider – to break the 10-second barrier, setting a new Milton track record of 9.978 – 1/1000th of a second off the Pan Am record.
The Men’s Sprint final was destined to be interesting as Barrette and Phillip know each other very well having trained together daily at the LA Velodrome – where Canada ran their track program before the Milton Velodrome was completed. When talking with Barrette prior to the final, he even referred to Phillip as “a best friend”.
Phillip has a strong history of beating both Barrette and Joe Veloce and finished 4th in the Keirin at the London 2012 Olympic Games. However, at the Milton International Challenge, Barrette beat Phillip even though the latter qualified faster. Since then Barrette has gained some speed on his friend/rival – he qualified 4/10th’s of a second faster than Phillip on Friday morning.
In the final the crowd roar was deafening as Barrette bested Phillip in two straight rides for the biggest win of his career as he brought the country to its feet. Following hugs with his Mom and coach Erin Hartwell, the golden boy was all smiles during the medal ceremony.
Meanwhile Canada’s Monique Sullivan and Kate O’Brien were also on form in the Women’s Sprint with Sullivan delivering a sub-11 time of 10.992 for a new Pan Am record – this is the first time a women has gone under 11 seconds on the Milton track.
O’Brien set the stage being the first to set a new Milton track record and PB in the Qualifications which held for only a short time as Sullivan hit the boards and bested her time.
Both riders advanced to the semi-finals with relative ease setting up for more fireworks for the final day of competition on Sunday. The Canadian pair are sitting in 1st and 2nd going into the match sprint rounds which sets up the possibility that they could face off in the gold medal final on Sunday if they both win all of their match sprint heats. They returned home from their racing at T-Town as the fastest two women on concrete and seem to be repeating that here on the boards in Milton – swapping roles for the time being.
Fellow Canuck Jasmin Glaesser, racing in the Women’s Omnium, also claimed a new Pan Am record in the Individual Pursuit with a time of 3:34.747 – the crowd erupted after she crossed the line. But her glory was short-lived as USA veteran star and world record IP holder, Sarah Hammer, topped that moments later with 3:31.952.
Prior to that Argentina’s Christina Greve won the Scratch Race as the riders took to the line for round three, the Elimination race, which provided a rare highlight as Glaesser and Hammer battled to the line in a photo-finish that officials declared a TIE. After three events Hammer (113 pts) is in first followed by Glaesser (109) in second with Greve (102) in third.
Following a strong qualification ride where they placed third setting a new Canadian sea-level record of of 4:07.656, the Men’s Team Pursuit squad consisting of Rémi Pelletier-Roy, Adam Jamieson, Eric Johnstone and Sean MacKinnon faced off against Argentina hoping to make the final for gold.
At around 3,000m the team lost their formation and came up short but their time was still strong enough to remain in the medal hunt as they battle with Venezuela for the bronze on Sunday. Canada finished 5th at the last Pan Am Games in Mexico with a 4:14.389 so regardless of the outcome things are are moving forward in a positive way.
Results and more photos here.