Blue sky and puffy clouds were the order of the day for the start of the women’s 19.5km time trial. It was interesting to see the equipment choices as many of the smaller riders chose small profile front wheels with a few not even using rear discs. Brown and Glaesser opted for deep profile front wheels and rear discs.
Brown, defending PanAm bronze ITT medalist from the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, was the first Canadian off the start ramp and she went out looking relaxed and smooth. Glaesser, the third last rider, also had a nice start. At the first time check, Brown set the fastest time with 12:41 but Evelyn Garcia of El Salvador, the silver medalist from 2011, countered with 12:11.
Glaesser’s time at the 1/2 was 12:37, but we found out moments later that she had suffered a flat in her front tire just before the time check and lost quite a bit a time getting a wheel change (~26s). American Kelly Catlin had the second fastest time at the half with 12:12.
Brown came across the finish hot as she virtually caught all four riders that started ahead of her – the Canuck’s time of 27:23.32 was the first sub-28 min result. She was sitting in the hot seat as Irma Greve of Argentina made a costly mistake of coming down to the finish and turning right as she exited the course where the follow cars depart. Brown’s hot-seat session was short-lived as Garcia’s 27:20.24 knocked her into second place.
Glaesser was absolutely flying when she came across the line and her time was 27:01.31 putting her in first place with only one rider remaining on the course. Moments after texting a quick note about Glaesser’s ride, I looked up and saw 19-year-old Catlin (USA) come across the line with a time of 26:25.58, fast enough to earn her the gold medal and the only sub-27-min time of the day. (Catlin was part of the US Pursuit Team that won Pan Am silver last week at the Milton Velodrome).
Unfortunately for Brown, the last two riders pushed her off of the podium and she ended up in fourth. Both she and Garcia were bumped down one spot from their previous ITT finishes at the last Pan Am Games. Brown missed the podium by just over three seconds.
“I left it all out there,” said Brown post-race adding that she didn’t have any problems with the wind. In fact she was suitably impressed with her teammate when she learned that Glaesser claimed silver even after flatting. “Jasmin is my hero today,” quipped Brown.
Glaesser was very professional when talking about her mechanical stating, “I’m disappointed, but that’s part of bike racing.” She was visibly upset with her result as she was having a great ride and was shooting for the gold but ended up 35s behind Catlin.
Zoenique Williams of Bermuda did not start as her bike did not meet UCI measurements while Maria Luisa Calle Williams, the 46-year-old rider from Columbia, who competed in the team pursuit at the track last week was also a no-show.
The weather forecast has initially predicted that the wind would drop around the time of the men’s time trial start. However this was not the case – in fact the gusts seemed even stronger than in the women’s race. Most riders were still using rear discs and deep-dished front wheels for the two-loop, 37km route – the same course that the women raced on, but the men would complete two laps vs one.
Canada’s Sean Mackinnon, the youngest rider in the competition was first to the start gate as Emile Abraham of Trinidad and Tobago did not show up to the start line. Mackinnon was off smooth, as reigning Canadian Elite Men’s TT champ, Hugo Houle, was one of the last riders called to the line.
Just after the final rider was off we got word that Mackinnon had posted his first split time of 11:11 – he was flying. His time held until Mexico’s Ignacio Prado took a second off of it with 11:10. When Houle crossed the same point everyone knew that he was on a fantastic pace with a time of 11 minutes even – 10 seconds faster than the second-placed rider at this point while Mackinnon was sitting comfortably in third.
At time-check 2 Mackinnon’s time was solid – the riders did not go through the start/finish line so the second split was at the same point as the first split, close to 28km into the race. When Prado came through, Mackinnon had shown that he had taken time out of him as his split was 10 seconds faster than the Mexican’s. Houle continued to rocket around the course and at time-check two he was 50 seconds faster than Mackinnon. With about 9km to go, Canada was sitting in first and second.
Mackinnon, 19, was the first rider to finish with a time of 46:51.46 (an average speed of 47.377 km/h) – pretty quick for the rising U23 rider that’s part of the new NextGen program. His time stuck until Prado bumped him to second by a 20-second margin with a time of 46:31.35.
We did not have to wait long to see how well the other Hugo (some newbie fans thought that Houle and Barrette were the same Hugo) was doing. He ripped across the line to the roar of the crowd taking even more time out of the competition in the final section finishing 1:17 ahead of Prado with a time of 45:13.48 (49.088 km/h average speed). Post-race we asked Houle what his average power output was and he told us that he didn’t know exactly, but that it was “over 400 watts”.
With only three riders remaining it was pretty clear that Houle, a WorldTour rider with AG2R La Mondiale, was golden and first place was his. The big question for Canadian fans was whether Mackinnon could hold onto bronze. As the time ticked away all things looked good for the rising young star from Hamilton. More cheers erupted as Canada’s cycling medal count went up by another three for a good day at the office.