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February 18/17 0:08 am - Canada Opens Cali World Cup with Top-10 Performances

Posted by Editoress on 02/18/17

Team Canada recorded three top-10 performances on the opening day of the third round of the Track World Cup on Friday, in Cali, Colombia.

The Women's Team Sprint squad of Rio Olympian Kate O'Brien and Amelia Walsh finished seventh overall, with former BMX athlete Walsh competing in her first ever international competition after only nine weeks in the sport.



Amelia Walsh leading out Kate O'Brien


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"I wasn't sure how it was going to work out," admitted O'Brien.  "I was in a new position as the second rider so it was good to test it out with Walshy.  It's a bit terrifying to be the veteran now, but I have to step up and embrace the role.  I've been told my time was pretty good and Amelia posted the time we were looking for as well.  Overall, I think it was a pretty good effort we finished seventh; top-8 was the goal.  It was definitely a good way to start the week off."

"First World Cup after nine weeks on the track, so I feel pretty good," said Walsh.  "I hopped on a bike November 1st and they put me in a race nine weeks later, so it's pretty exciting.  I was able to keep my nerves down by treating it like a BMX race and keeping myself calm.  I'm pretty proud of holding it together and I can't wait for next weekend [Los Angeles World Cup]."

National coach Erin Hartwell said, "I'm happy with what we accomplished; you always want more, but bringing a new team into a World Cup ... we can be happy with seventh.  Kate had the second fastest lap 2 split of all the competitors and that's a phenomenal time for her.  And Amelia has only been with the sprint program about two months, and she is where we expect her to be.  The form will come but it does take time.  Overall I'm pretty happy because it is faster than we went here last year."




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In the Men's Team Sprint, Rio Olympian Hugo Barrette was joined by two first time World Cup riders, Stefan Ritter and Patrice St-Louis-Pivin.  The trio managed to finish ninth overall, with Barrette recording the fastest split of any rider in qualifying.

"It's been a long time since I've competed so I was nervous," said Barrette.  "It's a new team but we pulled it off; we rode in the 44s [seconds], which is pretty amazing for Canada.  Against some world-class teams we were ninth; of course we wanted to qualify for the next round, but I'm really proud of the progress we've done since the beginning of the season - it's only been four months that we have been together.  My ride I felt fast, I had the best second lap against some great sprinters.  But the other events are technical events and I haven't raced for six months in the Keirin and nine months in the Sprint ... so the speed is definitely there, but we'll see about the technical aspects."

"It's about where I thought we would end up," said Hartwell.  "What's encouraging is that Hugo had the fastest middle lap with a 12.6 [seconds]; he's never gone that fast so it bodes well for his individual events.  But we have new guys on the team, and it's just going to take some time.  We just missed qualifying for the next round by two-tenths [of a second]; that hurts a little bit, but I proud of the guys and the effort they put in to get to this point."

Stefan Ritter said, "Coming into this I was really nervous, since it is my first Elite World Cup competition, but like Hugo said, we were able to put in a solid ride and got under 45 seconds.  For our first ride I think it is really great.  It sets us up well for going into LA [World Cup #4].

Patrice St-Louis-Pivin agreed, "It was good; I for sure hoped for a better time, but we rode well as a team.  For sure in LA it is going to be better.  I've only been track cycling for ten months, so I can't expect more than this.  We need to start somewhere, so I'm happy with this ride."




Stephanie Roorda

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In individual competition, Stephanie Roorda had a strong finish in the four event Women's Omnium to take eighth overall.  In the final Points Race, Roorda won two intermediate sprints to move up from 11th in the standings after three events.

"In the final race I felt that I didn't have anything to lose, being so far back on points," said Roorda.  "Physically I'm not feeling 100%; I had a cold last week.  So I just wanted to finish the Omnium off on a good note and get ready for the Team Pursuit on Saturday."



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