Returning Olympians highlight Canada’s cycling team
Team Canada will feature 19 cyclists at Rio 2016.
Olympic medallists Tara Whitten and Jasmin Glaesser highlighted the team’s nominations, which were announced on Wednesday. Both won bronze in the team pursuit at London 2012 while Whitten finished fourth in the omnium. She has since switched over from track cycling to road cycling and will compete in the road race and time trial in Rio. Glaesser will focus solely on track cycling after doubling up disciplines at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games where she won gold in the team pursuit, gold in the road race, silver in the omnium and silver in the time trial.
London 2012 team members Catharine Pendrel (mountain biking), Emily Batty (mountain biking), Tory Nyhaug (BMX), Laura Brown (track cycling) and Monique Sullivan (track cycling) will also be joining Team Canada in Rio.
These will be the third Olympic Games for Pendrel, who finished fourth at Beijing 2008 and ninth in London, which she had entered as the reigning world champion. Since London, the 35-year-old has won a second world title as well as a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2014 to go along with a silver at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
Batty, 28, finished one spot ahead of Pendrel to win gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games and was just behind her to claim silver at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. She’ll be looking to improve on her London 2012 performance where she finished 24th while competing with a broken right collarbone.
Nyhaug, who will be Canada’s only BMX rider in Rio, won gold at the Pan Am Games last summer and was a world silver medallist in 2014. Sullivan also had Pan Am success, winning three gold medals in the sprint, keirin and team sprint, alongside Kate O’Brien, who will join her in Rio. Brown, who was the non-competing member of Canada’s team pursuit squad in London, was a member of the Pan Am gold-medal winning pursuit team.
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Canada’s other track cyclists will be Hugo Barrette, Allison Beveridge, Kirsti Lay, and Georgia Simmerling. The 27-year-old Simmerling will be competing in her third Olympic Games after participating in alpine skiing at Vancouver 2010 and ski cross at Sochi 2014. No Canadian athlete has ever competed in a different sport at each of three Olympic Games. Along with being a valued member of the team pursuit, Beveridge has also stood atop a World Cup podium in the omnium.
Road cycling will take place August 6-7 at Fort Copacabana (road races) and August 10 in Pontal (time trials). Track cycling will be held at the Rio Olympic Velodrome from August 11 to 15. BMX will take place at the Olympic BMX Centre, August 17-19, while mountain bike races will happen August 20-21 at the Mountain Bike Centre.