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Tuft has the pink jersey in a 24 hours of mixed results for Canadian sport

Tuft has the pink jersey in a 24 hours of mixed results for Canadian sport

By Asif Hossain

It has been a busy 24 hours with mixed results for #TeamCanada, including jubilation in the Giro d’Italia and a shocking result coming out of Belarus.

Cycling

The Giro d’Italia is underway and after the first stage a Canadian has the leader’s pink jersey.

Beijing 2008 Olympian Svein Tuft, 37 (today), uncorked the celebratory champagne (pink, one would assume) following the opening day’s result in Belfast.  Tuft is the fifth cyclist to lead the tour on his birthday and the fourth Canadian to lead one of cycling’s Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a Espana).  The Giro starts in Northern Ireland and Ireland for its three opening stages before moving to Italy for good following a rest day.

Hockey

On Friday, Canada opened the 2014 World Hockey Championship in a group match against France. Expected to be a test that Canada should easily pass given its wealth of National Hockey League talent, the Canadians stumbled and lost 3-2 to the French in a shootout.

Let us not speak more of this.

Canada’s next game is against Slovakia on Saturday.

Soccer

Thursday night, the national women’s soccer team hoped to end its 13-year winless streak against archrival United States, however goals traded by the teams in either half ensured a 1-1 draw. Although Canada hasn’t beaten the U.S. since a 3-0 win at Algarve Cup in 2001, there are a couple of huge positives to take from the draw.

Kadeisha Buchanan

First, commit the name Kadeisha Buchanan (above, no. 14 for an earlier match against the U.S.) to memory. The 18-year old Toronto-born defender headed home Canada’s lone goal from a first half corner to give the Canadians a lead. Her resolute defending – showing speed, physicality and an unwillingness to be beat – also kept the powerful Americans at bay until the second half equalizer. Buchanan is likely to be a star for years to come.

The second big positive is the 28,000 fans that showed up to cheer on Team Canada in Winnipeg. The city is one of the host venues for the 2015 Women’s World Cup and Winnipeg looks ready to welcome international visitors.

Track & Field

London 2012 bronze medallist Derek Drouin followed up his Canadian record-setting 2.40 metres high jump on April 25 with a second place showing in the opening meet of the IAAF Diamond League in Doha, Qatar.

Derek Drouin

Drouin and his competitors made history when the Canadian along with Ivan Ukhov (Russia), Erik Kynard (USA) and Mutaz Essa Barshim (Qatar) all cleared 2.37 metres in Doha, the first time four jumpers hit that mark in the same meet. All but Ukhov peaked at that height.

Ukhov, the reigning Olympic champion, went on to win the event by jumping 2.41. These monstrous jump requirements are becoming commonplace now at meets and should continue to be the case heading into Rio 2016.

On the track at Doha, Dontae Richards-Kwok finished eighth in the 200 metres with a time of 21.30. No points for the Canadian, while Jamaicans finished 1-2 with Nickel Ashmeade and Warren Weir, followed by Qatari Femi Ogunode.

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By Asif Hossain

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