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01.21.18
CANADA WINS TWO MEDALS AT MINSK TRACK WORLD CUP
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Minsk, Belarus, January 21, 2018 – Canada had a strong showing at Round 5 of the UCI Track World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, with athletes winning silver and bronze medals on Saturday.  Stefan Ritter of Edmonton, Alberta, won the silver medal in the Men’s Keirin, while the NextGen women’s Team Pursuit squad took bronze.

For Ritter, a former Junior world champion, the podium result came after a long recovery from a crash in 2017 that kept him out of competition for the earlier part of the 2017-2018 World Cup season. Ritter had to go through the ‘second chance’ repechage race to qualify for the semi-finals, but won his semi-final race to make it into the medal final, where six riders competed for the medals.  In the Final, Ritter finished second to Matthijs Buchli of the Netherlands.  Ritter also competed in the Sprint, qualifying fourth but getting beaten in the 1/8th final by eventual bronze medalist Theo Bos of the Netherlands.

“Overall I’m really happy with how the Keirin went,” said Ritter.  “I couldn’t have asked for more, to be honest.  Considering this is the first time I’ve raced the Keirin at a World Cup, I’m really happy with silver.  Except for the first ride, all my rides went really well; tactically, I feel like I made good decisions.”

The NextGen team of Erin Attwell (Victoria, BC), Maggie Coles-Lyster (Maple Ridge, BC), Devaney Collier (Edmonton, Alberta), and Laurie Jussaume (Contrecoeur, Quebec) qualified third on Friday in the 4000 metre event and set the third fastest time again on Saturday morning to make it into the bronze medal race against France in the evening.  Canada was leading France after the halfway mark when the French team crashed out of competition.  The United States won the gold medal ahead of Italy.

“We started out really smooth,” said Attwell, “and the plan was to focus on the technical aspects of our ride; executing well, staying on the black line and communicating.  We did a really good job of working together as a team.  It’s the first time that we have executed everything perfectly; we had such a smooth ride for all three [races], and every ride got better technically and we got faster in every ride. It’s exciting for the future.”

Jacques Landry Chief, Technical Officer – Head Coach for Cycling Canada, and Project Manager in Minsk, commented:  “Saturday was a good day for the team. Our NextGen TP squad rode three great rides, on schedule, every time. The strategy was easy for them – it was to focus on their own race, communicate and strive for flawless execution. They met the strategic goals which led to a bronze medal; a bronze medal that may not have happened without the great preparation from NextGen coach, Jenny Trew, along with on-point in the field input from our physiologist, Emily Wood.”

“To cap off the day, Stefan rode a great Final which could have yielded a gold. Though his qualifier could have been better, with his legs firing on all cylinders, he rode a great repechage to put him back into the running. In the Sprint competition he had a strong qualifier but just came up against a more experienced rider in the heats.”

In other competition, Devaney Collier of Edmonton competed in the four event women’s Omnium, finishing 14th overall, while Maggie Coles-Lyster competed in the Points Race but did not finish, and in the Madison with Laurie Jassaume, where the duo was 13th.

“The Madison was definitely a new experience,” admitted Coles-Lyster.  “I think Laurie and I learned a lot; it was one of the fastest races I’ve ever done. It showed us everything we need to work on, and I know that we will get there. This was the second Madison we have done together, so we’ve made big progress since the [Junior] world championships, and I can see us making more progress now.”

Landry summarized the project: “The girls [NextGen Track endurance] really came into their own during this project; it’s a testament to their talent and the work done in the background from coaches and staff like Jenny and Emily Wood. They’ve not only learned a lot in the Team Pursuit, but also in the individual events like the Points Race, Omnium and Madison. Although Stefan Ritter may have made some mistakes in the 1/8th final, he definitely has shown he is world class. This is the Stefan we expect to see more of in the coming months and years.”