Team Canada's Lauriane Genest makes a push for the finish line during a cycling competitionNick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press
Nick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press

Genest caps final day of Track Nations Cup with keirin bronze

In the final tune-up for track cyclists before Paris 2024, Team Canada had a big weekend at the UCI Track Cycling Nations Cup in Milton, Ontario, capped off by a bronze on Sunday from Lauriane Genest.

Genest started off the day by finishing second in her first round heat, as she finished just 0.021 seconds behind Dutch rider Hetty van de Wouw. In the second round, she qualified for the final by racing to the third-best time, and she held onto that spot in the final to reach the podium.

Her teammate Kelsey Mitchell, who raced to a fifth-place in the keirin event in Tokyo 2020, narrowly missed the qualifying window for the final, and raced to seventh.

Track trio team up to take down Italy for bronze

The chance to medal on a home track does not come often on the UCI Track Nations Cup, but that’s what Canada’s Ryan Dodyk, James Hedgcock, and Tyler Rorke did on Friday night in the men’s team sprint in Milton, Ontario. 

In one of the final races on the first night of the three-day event and the lone stop in Canada, the trio defeated the Italian team in the bronze medal race after making their way into the top four in the opening round, where they raced alongside France. 

After racing the first round in a time of 43.170 seconds, the group improved their time in the bronze medal clash, clocking in at 43.411, ahead of Italy’s group, which crossed the line in 43.513. 

“We knew what we had to do, and we did it,” Hedgcock said of finishing on the podium in one of the Olympic events. “We had the advantage of being supported by the home crowd. We ride on this track every day, so we know it well.”

The Netherlands captured the gold medal, while Great Britain took silver. 

Bibic captures gold in elimination race

While the men’s team sprint landed on the podium, they weren’t the only Canadians to do so. Twenty-year-old Dylan Bibic finished with a gold medal in the men’s elimination race, an event excluded from the Paris 2024 Olympic programme. 

A native of nearby Mississauga, Bibic was the last rider standing, just ahead of Japan’s Shunsuke Imamura and Great Britain’s Mark Stewart, who took silver and bronze, respectively. At the same time, the win continued a strong season in the elimination event, with his Friday win complementing a victory in Adelaide, Australia, in February. 

“I’ve never celebrated with such enthusiasm,” Bibic said of racing in front of the home crowd. “But I really did my best in this race, with some of the best Olympic riders, and winning in front of my home crowd was an amazing feeling.”

For the Canadian women, it was a case of fourth place in the women’s team pursuit and women’s team sprint, finishing just off the podium in each after qualifying for both bronze medal races. 

Kelsey Mitchell, Lauriane Genest and Sarah Orban, with alternate Jackie Boyle, finished fourth in the opening round of the women’s team sprint, before falling to Poland in bronze medal race, with a final time of 48.426. 

Meanwhile, the team of Erin Attwell, Ariane Bonhomme, Maggie Coles-Lyster and Sarah Van Dam finished just short of France in the women’s team pursuit final, before Van Dam moved on to finish fourth in the women’s elimination race. 

The UCI Track Nations Cup continues through the weekend in Milton, with Canadian athletes chasing Olympic qualification while also attempting to ramp up in the leadup to Paris 2024.