Feature photo: Canada’s Allison Beveridge on Day 1 of the women’s omnium in New Zealand at UCI Track World Cup on December 5, 2015 (Photo: Rob Jones/Canadian Cyclist).
Track cyclist Allison Beveridge had a golden Sunday in New Zealand, as Cycling Canada won two individual medals to take three from the second UCI World Cup event of the season.
On Saturday in the Kiwi country’s North Island town of Cambridge, Canada won silver by the slightest of margins behind Australia in women’s team pursuit, which included Beveridge (more on this below). On Sunday, Beveridge in the omnium and Monique Sullivan in keirin took two more medals in women’s events.
The omnium in track cycling takes place over two days with six events: scratch race, individual pursuit, elimination race, time trial, flying lap and a points race. Over the first five events points are awarded based on standings; in the final event – points race – a more complex scoring system can see cyclists gain or lose points from their total.
Beveridge, 22, was third in the scratch race and time trial respectively, fourth in the individual pursuit and fifth in the elimination race. In the flying lap, the Canadian performed best taking maximum points ahead of the final event. That set up a points race showdown with Australia’s Annette Edmondson, the London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in the Omnium. Beveridge trailed Edmondson by two points (180 to 178) setting up an exciting final.
In the points race – a 25km ordeal comprising of 100 laps of the velodrome – Beveridge managed to take 23 points to only eight for Edmondson, beating the decorated 23-year-old Aussie cyclist in total points 201 to 188 for the gold medal. Jolien D’Hoore of Belgium (182) took home bronze.
Canada was awarded a second individual medal for Sullivan – a bronze – in women’s keirin after Lee Hyejin of South Korea was relegated for not holding her line in the final. Sullivan officially finished third behind Shuang Guo of China and five-time Olympic medallist Anna Meares of Australia.
Keirin races have a controlled start behind a motorcycle before the motorized vehicle goes off track leaving the cyclists to sprint to a frantic finish. Sullivan was the Pan Am Games champion in keirin at Cycling Canada’s home track, the Milton Velodrome, at Toronto 2015.
Friday & Saturday results
In an extremely close race against world champion Australia, Canada took second place in the women’s team pursuit in Cambridge, New Zealand on Saturday.
At the second of three UCI World Cup stops this season for track cyclists, the Canadians continued to show their tremendous form leading up to an Olympic year. In late October, Canada dominated the opening World Cup stop in Cali, Colombia, beating the United States comfortably.
In New Zealand, Canada posted the fastest qualifying time of four minutes and 19.359 seconds, pacing the field, including Australia in second place. That set up a first round contest against fourth-fastest United States.
Employing a team of Jasmin Glaesser, Kirsti Lay, Stephanie Roorda and Annie Foreman-Mackey, Canada routed USA by nearly six seconds to ensure the gold medal showdown against Australia, which handily overpowered New Zealand in the corresponding duel of second versus third fastest qualifiers.
Allison Beveridge and Laura Brown replaced Roorda and Foreman-Mackey for the final, where Canada cycled to 4:18.267 on the track, only bettered by Austrialia by just over five one hundredth of a second (4:18.213).
In the 16-nation competition, New Zealand took the bronze medal in front of home fans by beating the United States.
For Canada – bronze medallists in the 2015 World Championships – such a close result against Australia should have cycling fans salivating for Rio 2016, where Canadians will compete as reigning Olympic bronze medallists in women’s team pursuit.
Major gains were made in other races on Friday. Pan Am Games sensations Monique Sullivan and Kate O’Brien in women’s team sprint, where they reset the Canadian record to 33.467 seconds from the previous mark of 34.173 on their way to a fifth place finish.
The final World Cup stop of the season is Hong Kong from January 16-17.