Posted by Editoress on 02/28/19
Team Canada had a bittersweet day on Thursday, the second day of the competition at the 2019 Track World Championships in Pruszkow, Poland. Both the women's and men's squads made the bronze medal final in the Team Pursuit, only to finish fourth, just out of the medals.
For the men's squad of Michael Foley, Derek Gee, Adam Jamieson and Jay Lamoureux, just making the medal round was a new accomplishment, one that they savoured. However, the squad was beaten by an experienced Danish team in the end.
"It's a huge step for the program," said Gee. "Obviously, it's always disappointing to lose a ride, but looking at it ... I don't think we expected to make a medal round; top-5 was the goal. So, to make the medal round was exceeding that and we can come away with big positives."
The women's team of Allison Beveridge, Ariane Bonhomme, Annie Foreman-Mackey and Georgia Simmerling had a strong ride early in the day to put themselves into the medal final against New Zealand, however, they struggled in the bronze medal race, finishing nearly four seconds behind New Zealand, and almost three seconds slower than their earlier ride.
"It was a tough race and we gave it our all," said Simmerling. "You need four riders to do their job, and sometimes you don't get four riders for every race."
In other competition, Canada's sprinters also raced on Thursday. Lauriane Genest qualified 12th in the women's sprint, but was knocked out in the first round of head-to-head racing. In the men's Keirin, neither Hugo Barrette or Joel Archambault made it past the first round. For Barrette, it was particularly disappointing, since he won a silver medal earlier in the season at a World Cup. He had crashed heavily in training prior to the start of the world championships, and is still feeling the effects.
"I had two of the fastest guys with me in each race [including eventual world champion Matthijs Buchli of the Netherlands] but that's part of the game," said Barrette. "I definitely had my fastest legs of the year until my crash and was ready to go. Crashing at 75K an hour into someone is like hitting a wall, so I was lagging and slow today."
Australia dominated the second day of competition, winning three of the four titles awarded. The Netherlands was the only other nation to win a rainbow jersey, their second of these championships.
Australia won both the women's and men's Team Pursuit titles, beating Great Britain each time. In the men's competition, the team of Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Brien, Leigh Howard and Alexander Porter shattered their own world record by an impressive 1.8 seconds, setting a new time of 3:48.012 . Denmark won the bronze medal.
Australian Men shattered their own world record
"What can I say except thank you, I am so grateful to be a part of this team," said Howard. "I am fortunate that I have come back into the program with such a fantastic group, not just the riders but the staff has developed so much since I was last in the program and I couldn't be more thankful to everyone."
The women's Team Pursuit was a much closer competition, with the Australian team of Annette Edmondson, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker and Amy Cure beating Great Britain by a slim 0.204 seconds. New Zealand won the bronze medal.
In the men's Scratch Race, Sam Welsford completed an unprecedented double, when the Australian won his second world title of the evening less than 45 minutes after riding as part of the record-setting squad in the Team Pursuit. Welsford held off Roy Eefting of the Netherlands and Thomas Sexton of New Zealand to accomplish this remarkable feat.
"It has been a crazy thirty minutes, I am gobsmacked," a shocked Welsford said. "To do a forty-eight with my boys Kel, Cam, Leigh, Porter, that's the best thing I could ever imagine. To break our own world record and leading into the Olympics next year is bloody awesome. The icing on the cake is the win in the scratch race. It's a dream come true for us."
The men's Keirin title went to Matthijs Buchli of the Netherlands, the reigning World Cup champion in the event, and a member of the world champion Team Sprint squad a day earlier. Japan won their first medal of the championship with Yudai Nitta's silver, and Stefan Botticher of Germany took bronze.
"When I ended up in the final, I knew nothing was as important as winning," said Buchli. "I had wasted a lot of energy in the first rounds, so if I wanted to win, it would have to be through a late sprint. Matthew Glaetzer [Australia] went early and took Stefan Bötticher with him, which gave me the perfect lead-out to the line. I timed my sprint at just the right moment, and now I'm world champion."
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