Hugo Houle powers to Pan Am gold in road time trial

On Wednesday Jasmin Glaesser came second in the women’s time trial while Hugo Houle won gold in the men’s and young Sean MacKinnon was third (more below). Canada now has 17 cycling medals at TO2015.

Hugo Houle stomped the 37-kilometre course to win the time trial by over a minute and Sean MacKinnon held on for bronze, putting a second Canadian on the podium.

Houle completed two-laps of the course in 45:13.48, amounting to a 1:17.87 margin of victory over Ignacio Prado of Mexico. MacKinnon stopped the clock third-fastest at 46:51.46.

Hugo Houle during the individual time trial at TO2015.

Hugo Houle during the individual time trial at TO2015.

“Today I had the best ride of my life,” said Houle, an elite cyclist who rode in his first Giro d’Italia this summer. He is from a small Quebec town named Sainte-Perpétue. His parents were along the course, along with other friends or family. And he was dominant for them, leading by 39 seconds after one-lap and with 10-kilometres to go almost 60. “I still felt really good so I opened up again,” he said. “It’s a pretty good feeling, you just want to keep pushing.”

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Sean MacKinnon was riding his first time trial. He went all-out and could hardly stand forty-five minutes after finishing. MacKinnon won a bronze in team pursuit on Sunday, “That’s 4 km, this is 40,” he chuckled.

Sean MacKinnon waves during the medal ceremony for the men's individual time trial at TO2015.

Sean MacKinnon waves during the medal ceremony for the men’s individual time trial at TO2015.

“I had some power numbers to hold in mind, I didn’t really stick to those for the first lap. I really paid for it in the second lap, just hanging on for dear life,” said the 19-year-old who stood on the podium with a rider he looks up to, “It’s pretty cool to be next to Canada’s best time trialist,” he said.

Both Houle and MacKinnon will join fellow Canadians Guillaume Boivin and Rémi Pelletier for Saturday’s road race.

Jasmin Glaesser blew a tire halfway through her time trial but managed to ride the second-fastest time on a windy Wednesday morning.

The Vancouverite completed the 19.5-kilometre course in 27:01.31, second to American Kelly Catlin who rode 26:25.58. El Salvador’s Evelyn Garcia was third with a time of 27:20.24. Canada’s Laura Brown was fourth.

A flat-tire delayed Glaesser as a mechanic jumped from her support vehicle to install a new wheel. Still, she lost critical seconds, “For me it was really more a matter of trying to regain the focus after that,” said the 23-year-old. It’s the first time she’s ever ‘flatted’ in a time trial. “You have to keep calm, the race isn’t over at that point,” she said.

The Olympic medallist also had to combat outdoor conditions, a big contrast from earlier at Pan Ams when she won two medals at the Milton Velodrome. “I definitely struggled a little bit with the wind,” she admitted, “It definitely makes for a unique challenge but it was super fun,” said said, producing a touch of positivity while managing the disappointment, perhaps imagining what a clean ride would have meant.

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“I have to be proud of myself for coming out there today in my best form and there’s just some things that are beyond my control,” said Glaesser who will conclude TO2015 with the women’s road race on Saturday.

What is the individual time trial?

The individual time trial at Pan Ams is a road course where the women do one-lap, and the men do two. Riders go once every minute. Fastest time wins.