Posted by Editoress on 07/13/02
National Track Championships Bromont, Quebec
Day three at the Canadian Track Nationals in Bromont, Quebec was another chance for the Commonwealth Games team to test themselves with a week to go before Manchester. Under a brilliant blue sky, and in 30 degree plus heat, the team members dominated the events they raced in.
Lori-Ann Muenzer took the women's 500m time trial in a very fast 35.489 seconds. The time was faster then she expected.
"The track is faster then yesterday, and it is hotter, with less wind, plus the air is really dry. The ride was good; it was actually a little more then I was looking for. I was hoping for a 35.5. I did a 35.6 in Sydney (World Cup), so this is my fastest time of the year.
I'm not peaking yet, so I'm exactly on track to where I want to be (for Manchester)."
Second behind Muenzer was Mandy Poitras, who might have had something to prove after being left off the Games team. She put in a solid ride at 38.223, despite having a litany of misfortune before the race.
"I crashed in the warm-up (her husband ran into her!), then the drop out broke on my fork and they had to glue it back in. I didn't get a good start, and I tightened up in the last lap. I never should have left the house this morning!"
Poitras was a strong candidate for the Games team, and Muenzer commented "I was very shocked when they didn't select Mandy. She has been one of the most consistent Canadians on the track this year."
Poitras was disappointed as well.
"I was hoping .... I knew there was a spot, but they (the selectors) decided to take a spare rider for the Olympic Sprint instead. In hindsight, I probably should have done the Road Trials, but I thought that I had qualified on results - 4 World Cup medals and on potential for medalling at the Games. But life goes on, and I'll just focus on the Worlds."
In the Olympic Sprint, the Games Team of Steen and Lars Madsen, and Tyler Hansen outkicked Colnago-Carrera, a team that had an extremely strong finisher in Jim Fisher; the Kilo rider for Manchester.
In the afternoon, the racing switched to mass start events, with the Women's 25 kilometre (100 lap) Points race and the 15 kilometre (60 lap) Men's Scratch Race.
In the Points Race it was between Clara Hughes and Erin Carter. Carter was inspired by Hughes' double bronze performance at Atlanta in 1996, when she was 16. However, that did not stop her from setting the pace, and forcing Hughes to chase all race.
"I knew that for me the best way was to use my endurance. Mandy (Poitras) was the best sprinter, so I knew that if I could get a gap that Clara would come up and we could lap the field."
Carter's tactic was successful no less then 3 times, as she and Hughes rode away from the rest of the riders. In the end, Carter's aggressiveness rewarded her with her first national title since 2000, when she won the pursuit.
Hughes was gracious in defeat.
"Erin rode a really good race, she was always one lap up on me and I was chasing. She picked a good time for her first lap. I attacked to get it rolling, then Erin attacked, and then I went up to her. I am disappointed though with how some of the girls weren't racing; I even heard some of the coaches yelling "sit on, sit on:. If they want to get better that is not the way to do it."
The final senior race of the day was the Men's Scratch Race. The rules have changed for the event this year, and now if a rider laps the entire field, then the race is over. Hughes used this to great advantage in the women's Scratch on Friday to win, so there was some nervousness in the field that a similar attempt would be made in the men's version. While there were a number of attacks - most notably by Mark Ernsting and Alexandre Cloutier, nothing was allowed to get away until 4 riders started working together and began chasing down the field. Eventually, the pace pulled the field apart into small groups, and as those left behind were caught, the size of the remaining group dropped until only 12 were left in the race. This group came together, and then with 8 laps remaining, Ian Condron of Victoria launched an attack that caught everyone by surprise.
"I probably wasn't marked, so that meant I could catch everyone by surprise. It was pretty slow with 2 kilometres to go, so I thought that I would give it a try."
His effort was good enough to net the 19 year old his first national title.
The Track Nationals conclude tomorrow.
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