February 19, 2014 (St Quentin-en-Yvelines, France) – Canada won its first medal of the 2015 UCI Track Cycling World Championships on Day 2 with a bronze in the Women’s Team Pursuit as five world titles were awarded, with a second world record also set.
For a fourth straight year, Canada was on the podium in the Team Pursuit. After struggling in the opening round on Wednesday, the Canadian team of Allison Beveridge, Jasmin Glaesser, Kirsti Lay and Steph Roorda came back in round two on Thursday with a time three seconds faster then their previous one, setting a Canadian record of 4:17.799. They finished second in their heat to defending world champions Great Britain, who went on to the gold medal final against Australia, while Canada faced New Zealand. In the bronze medal final Canada won by nearly five seconds.
“I was disappointed in our performance yesterday,” admitted Glaesser, “we made some technical errors that didn’t show what we could do out there. So, I think we came back today and redeemed ourselves a little bit. Everyone today … we really focussed, we set our minds to it and committed to our ride, and I think that showed.”
The Team Pursuit for both women and men concluded this evening, with Australia’s women finally breaking Great Britain’s four-year winning streak to take the title in a record-breaking time of 4:13.683; almost three seconds faster than the previous record of Great Britain, who took silver.
“For the past couple of month all four of us have all been training inside and out, really hard,” explained Amy Cure. “It is so special to share these special moments with these girls. We couldn’t ask for anything else.”
“Beating the Brits, who have dominated the past few years and we’ve always been trying to top them. They put out a bloody good effort, setting pretty much a World record as well and it took a lot to beat them, but we did.”
The first title of the evening was awarded in the women’s 500-metre Individual Time Trial, with the same three medalists as last year, but reverse order. Russia’s Anastasia Voynova took gold after finishing the bronze medal position last year, while world record holder Anna Meares of Australia retained silver, and defending champion Miriam Welte of Germany dropped to bronze. Canada’s Kate O’Brien, racing at her first world championships, finished 18th.
“I’m still pretty new to this,” explained O’Brien, “so it’s hard to say what time I expected. It’s an indication of where I am right now, and I know that I have some more work to do.”
The men’s Scratch Race saw a race winning break of five riders develop just past the halfway mark, with Lucas Liss of Germany attacking the other members of the breakaway as they lapped trailing riders, and then hanging on for the win. Albert Torres Barcelo (Spain) took silver ahead of Bobby Lea of the United States.
“This is the first time for me that I am World Champion. It is a very nice feeling,” said Liss. My father was World Champion in the Men’s Team Time Trial in 1973, I hope he is very happy now. Now we have two World Champions jerseys at home. It is a great feeling.”
The biggest cheers of the night were reserved for the men’s Keirin, with defending champion Francois Pervis of host France taking a thrilling win in a last lap attack. Edward Dawkins (New Zealand) just held off Azizulhasni Awang (Malaysia) for silver.
“Yes, this title is better than last year,” Pervis said. “Last year was my first title and that is always special. A back-to-back title is always great, but to win here in France, in my town in front of my fan club, my family, my public, it is unbelievable.”
“All this winter I had very bad condition, never made a very good time in the training and all my competitions were very bad results. In my head it was very difficult. I crashed one month ago and it was hard on my motivation. But I was World Champion and wanted to be World Champion in France, so I must be motivated. I couldn’t give up.”
Canada’s Hugo Barrette did not make it out of the Keirin first round. In the Repechage race, Barrette attempted to break away with a lap to go and was leading by eight bike lengths with less than a lap to go. However, he was caught ten metres from the line.
He admits to disappointment, commenting “it’s the world championships, and everyone showed up with great legs today. I’m in the best shape of my life, but wasn’t able to make the semi-finals, so that’s really disappointing. I gave my best and it just wasn’t enough.”
The men’s Team Pursuit gold medal final was one of the most exciting of the evening, with a see-saw battle between New Zealand and Great Britain that saw the two nations swap the lead multiple times before the New Zealand pulled away in the final lap and half to win by six-tenths of a second.
“Yes we are very proud,” agreed Dylan Kennett. “We are a super young team. In the Final the oldest was 21. Regan [Gough] is only 18, so it’s pretty crazy really for that to be the first team to win one.”
“Beating the Brits, two time Olympic Champions, and having the Aussies on the third step there … a pretty special feeling to top those two teams. Beating Great Britain in the finals is something you dream of.”
The UCI Track Cycling World Championships continue on Friday with three titles to be awarded in the women’s Individual Pursuit, the men’s 1000 metre Time Trial and the men’s Points Race. The women’s Sprint and men’s Omnium also begin.
Day 2 results here.
With files from Cycling Canada and UCI.