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Posted by Editoress on 08/3/17
The third and final mountain bike event at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, took place on Thursday with the women's and men's sprint elimination competitions. Ann-Julie Tremblay of Quebec took her third gold medal in as many events in the women's race, while Rhys Verner of British Columbia won his second gold medal in the men's.
The Sprint - as it is called at the Games - is essentially the Elimination; a fast and spectator-friendly event. After a seeding run around the short and technical course, riders raced in heats, with the top riders from each heat moving on to the next round, culminating in the medal final for six riders.
Tremblay, who won the Cross-country on Sunday and was part of the winning Quebec squad in the Team Relay on Tuesday, won both her quarter final and semi final rides. In the final, it was a close race between Tremblay, Mackenzie Myatt (Nova Scotia) and Jenn Jackson (Ontario). Tremblay beat Myatt by one second, with Jackson a further second behind. It was the first mountain bike medal for Nova Scotia.
"I think this was more stressful then the cross-country," said Tremblay, "because you are always racing and there is no rest. But it's really fun because it is full gas the whole race. It is not my first time racing this, because I won the Canadian championship last year."
In the men's competition, Verner swept through his quarter and semi finals to make the medal race. Verner had already won a gold medal as part of the winning B.C. Team Relay squad on Tuesday. In the Final, Verner held off Alberta's Isaac Niles by a slim second, with cross-country gold medalist Felix Burke of Quebec taking bronze.
"I've done a few Sprints before," admitted Verner. "Three times at national championships and this is my second one at Canada Games. At nationals I've taken gold, silver and bronze, and today I had big goals, so I'm glad to pull it off. I like the sprint events; it's fun for spectators and it's all out from the gun. It's full on racing."
Mathieu Boucher, Performance Development Director at Cycling Canada, said, "we are extremely happy with the execution of the mountain bike events. The team here really stepped up and help us to deliver three days of great racing. Teams are happy with the courses and the services that were provided, and we had awesome performances from all the provinces. We now want to make sure that this mountain bike venue will be a legacy for years to come for the Manitoba Cycling Association, so that we can help them build quality programs here."
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