Posted by Editoress on 11/13/07
Cloutier-Chalifour Tandem Wins Gold and Breaks Canadian Record
Canada started the Pan American Open Paracycling Championships in Cali, Colombia with a triple medal performance in the individual pursuit track events.
Canada was 1-2 in the tandem race, with Daniel Chalifour of Mont-Laurier, QC, and pilot Alexandre Cloutier of Quebec City earning the gold in a Canadian record time. Brian Cowie and his pilot Devon Smibert were second. Jean Quévillon of Ste-Adèle, QC, added a silver in the cerebral palsy race.
Chalifour and Cloutier lowered the 4,000 metre individual pursuit mark by nine seconds, clocking 4:25.09 to overpower the nine-pair field in qualifying. Later on they defeated their compatriots in the final.
"We took off like a rocket in qualifying," said Chalifour. "We had really good legs."
The pair were looking to bounce back from a disappointing performance at the World Championships this past August in Bordeaux, France. They experienced mechanical problems in France and placed 13th. "We came here to show we can be strong in the pursuit even though we couldn't do it at the Worlds because of some bad luck."
National team coach Eric Van Den Eynde echoed the same sentiments. "They felt bitter about that race at the Worlds," he said. "With their performance here they've become the most competitive pair in track cycling in the world, something they weren't able to show at the Worlds."
In the CP race, Quévillon posted a personal best time in his individual pursuit race for the silver. World champion Darren Kenny of Britain won the gold.
"At the World Championships my time was 4:07 and here I got a 4:03," said Quévillon. "I'm very happy. I worked hard."
"It's really exciting for him," added Van Den Eynde. "He's made big improvements in the last year."
Former swimmer Geneviève Ouellet and her pilot Mathilde Hupin made their international debut in the women's tandem kilo. They beat out two teams to place seventh in the kilo race, clocking 1:18. "They did well," said Van Den Eynde. "Geneviève just started race cycling, but she's shown a lot talent for the sport. She has a lot of potential. We can already tell she is hungry for strong performances."
On Monday, the men's tandems are in action on the track in the kilo race while Mark Breton (LC1) and Éric Bourgault (LC2) compete in the individual pursuit.
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