Day 2 – Session 1
Day 2 started off with some speed courtesy of the men’s 200m qualifications used to seed the riders in Match Sprints that followed. The first rider, Argentina’s Leandro Bottasso, set an excellent time of 10.373 which stood until David Espinoza of the USA crossed the line in 10.318. Times dropped quickly after this as fans were stoked when Canadian rider, Joe Veloce, broke the Milton 200m record (which he set at the Milton International Challenge back in January) hitting the line with 10.158.
On to the 4th round of the men’s Omnium saw riders line up for the 1000m time trial. Canada’s Remi Pelletier-Roy warmed up his legs and then set a new personal best sea-level time of 1:04.910 (beating his previous personal best at sea level by almost a full second). His time was good enough to earn him 3rd place which moved him up to 3rd overall in the Omnium standings.
Known for his aggressive riding, Njisane Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago, won his match over Espinoza. Phillip entered the sprinter’s lane and then came out, which is against the rules, but the officials determined that it was before the actual sprint was initiated so it was ruled a clean heat.
Veloce of Canada won his match handily over Colombia’s Santiago Ramirez Morales so he was safely into the quarter finals. In Barrette’s re-ride more controversy followed. Cipriano (Bra) initiated the sprint and entered the sprint lane first. Barrette reacted and tried to take the sprint lane from him by coming inside and crossed the line first, but the Brazilians protested and Barrette was relegated. He would have to race the 1/8 Final Repechage to continue on in the 1/4 finals.
The women’s Keirin started off with some unexpected delays as the first heat had to be restarted three times due to crashes. Sullivan was in that heat and handled the restarts well. She took her favourite position at the front just behind the moto and kept the lead for the entire race to advance to the final later in the evening. The top three from both heats advance to the gold medal round.
Two more riders were needed to complete the quarter final round match ups for the men’s Sprint. This time Barrette didn’t take any chances and initiated the sprint early and held it to the line as the crowd erupted. K Fonseca Da Silva Freitas of Brazil won his heat to advance as well.
The crowd noise at the new Milton Velodrome has been unbelievable so far in the competition when the Canadians are racing which has been very motivating for the host athletes.
Next up was the Flying Lap for the men’s Omnium – a 250m time trial from a flying start. Canada’s Pelletier-Roy performed well in this event coming second and solidifying his 3rd place overall in the competition. World champion Fernando Gaviria Rendon of Columbia won the TT and has a very strong lead going into the Points Race, the final event of the Omnium later in the evening. Rodrigues Monterio (BRA) is currently in second with only two points separating him and Pelletier-Roy. RPR still has a good shot at the gold and definitely a medal as anything can happen with the new format.
Day 2 – Session 2
Following a break Session 2 began with an interesting pairing in the first heat of the Men’s Sprint 1/4 final with Brazilian teammates up against each other. Flavio Vagner Cipriano beat his compatriot K Fonseca Da Silva Freitas in two straight.
Next it was the fastest qualifiers in the TT facing off against each other in the 1/4 finals as Barrette come into the quarters through the Repechage. It was a very hard fought match with the riders having to go to a decider third heat with Barrette coming out on top. Venezuela’s Hersony Canelon Vera (defending Pan Am Champion) beat American Matt Baranoski with relative ease in two straight.
Phillip (TTO), a former training partner of Joe Veloce, had Veloce’s number today and beat him in two straight. Later Veloce placed 2nd in the 5-8 final to finish sixth overall in the competition.
The highly anticipated Women’s Team Pursuit final between Canada’s Jasmin Glaesser, Laura Brown, Kirsti Lay and Allison Beveridge vs the USA’s Sarah Hammer, Kelly Catlin, Jennifer Valente and Ruth Winder, was fantastic. Both teams started strong but the US had the edge over the first couple of laps as the Canadians remained calm and kept to their schedule. The race was tight (within 3/10s of a second) for the first 2km.
After that, Canada started to gain on their opponents which put the pressure on the new American squad. Hammer, multiple world champion and world IP record holder, stated on the first day of the Games that this is the first high level competition that the US team has competed in.
Hammer spent more time on the front trying to bring back the Canucks, but her teammates were not strong enough to hold her surges and the American formation fell apart. The Canadians then had the US team in the their sights – both teams were in the same straightaway in the last km. At one point it looked like Canada may actually catch the Americans before the finish, but the US team regrouped impressively and finished strong.
Canada finished with a time of 4:19.664 for the gold, which is only a couple of seconds off the Canadian record set in France at the Track World championships. It is listed as a new Pan Am Games record, but this is the first Games for the WTP at the 4km, 4-rider format.
Two thumbs up for our Chef de Mission, Curt Harnett, for being a very animated with his Canadian flag to help get the crowd going. In the bronze medal ride, Mexico proved too strong for Colombia as the Colombian team fragmented at the half way point and the Mexicans caught them before the finish to take home the bronze medal.
The women’s Keirin final was very exciting as Sullivan immediately got on the moto and held it until just before the the bike came off and she let Luz Gaxiola of Mexico take the front.
“Thank you Joel, Kelsey and @Helmets_4Heroes for the most amazing helmet and so happy to win in it too! What an amazing day! #FireLeafPower,” tweeted Sullivan
The final event of the night was the men’s 160-lap Points Race to finish off the men’s Omnium. Off the gun Canada’s Pelletier-Roy sat back a bit as Colombia’s Gaviria, the overall leader at this point, took full points on the first sprint. RPR fired back getting second place points on the next two sprints. Meanwhile Mexico’s Ignacio Prado managed to sneak away from the group and he had half a lap on the bunch for quite some time.
At one point it looked like he had given up as he moved very high up on the track along the finishing straight. This must have tricked the field or something because the pack slowed and within a very short time he had lapped the field and moved himself up into 1st overall. Pelletier-Roy was relentless with his attacks throughout the race, but the world champion from Colombia was just too strong – every time main contenders would gain half a lap, he would surge and bring them back.
In the end it was Gaviria taking the overall gold, Ignacio Prado (Mex) the silver and Rodrigues Monterio (BRA) the bronze with RPR in fifth telling Pedal post-race that he had tried to win the Points Race instead of going for third. “I gave it everything I had trying for the gold,” said Pelletier-Roy.
With two more days of track racing left Barrette will race for a medal in the sprints on Saturday, the women will start their Match Sprint rounds and the Omnium, while the men’s Team Pursuit squad will have a chance to show what they’ve been working hard on since the Next-Gen program was initiated.
The Town of Milton announced that additional tickets for this weekend’s Pan Am track cycling events are being released two hours before each race! Visit the Box Office at the velodrome or go online to get yours here.
Full results and more photos here.