The day began the men’s team pursuit squad – Zach Bell, Aidan Caves, Rémi Pelletier-Roy, Ed Veal – nailing the fourth best qualifying time out of six teams entered to make the final ride for the bronze.
“The objective for the men’s team pursuit squad was to make the bronze medal final,” confirmed Westwood. “About one kilometre into the qualifying ride Ed Veal touched wheels with Zach Bell, sending Veal onto the track apron, where he was able to regain control but lost contact with his teammates. The remaining three maintained their composure and finished the ride in 4:14, about six seconds slower than anticipated.
Despite the mishap the newly formed foursome made the cut to race against the Kiwis for the bronze medal but came up short as New Zealand caught the Canucks to end the match and claim the final medal.
“Fortunately, the time was good enough to make the bronze medal ride against New Zealand,” added Westwood. “In the final, New Zealand were keen to make up for their own difficult qualifying ride and, although Canada was running ahead of a 4:08 schedule, the race ended after two kilometres when New Zealand caught Canada.”
The men’s sprint saw all Canadians sidelined as none qualified for the round as only the top 12 riders advance with Hugo Barrette in 15th leading his teammates Vincent De Haître and Joseph Veloce who were 17th and 19th respectively.
“The sprint tournament saw 28 riders attempting to qualify for just 12 spots through the flying 200 m time trial. It was always going to be a long shot for any Canadians to make it into the tournament, and in the end none of them did. Barrette came closest, about one tenth of a second off the pace,” explained Westwood.
Next up, in the afternoon session, was the Team Sprint where the same three riders debuted for Canada and earned a spot in the medal rounds battling with Australia for the bronze. The Canucks upped their game but it wasn’t enough to topple the Aussies, but it demonstrated the strength if the program and potential down the road.
“Like the team pursuit, the objective was to make the bronze final,” Westwood continued. “It was a nail-biter as Canada did its qualifying ride before two nations that also had a good chance to make it through: Malaysia and Scotland. Malaysia came up a few tenths short, but Scotland gave us a good scare as they were up after two of three laps.
“In the end Canada made the bronze final to face Australia. The Canadians stepped up their game by a couple tenths of a second in the final, setting the fastest-ever Canadian time at sea level, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Aussies,” he concluded.
All in all it was a solid day for both new Canadian squads at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome track under the international limelight of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.