TOKYO (July 28, 2021) – Canada’s road cycling squad concluded its final day of racing on Wednesday at the Fuji International Speedway with the Individual Time Trial for both women and men. While part of the road team flew out following the road races, Leah Kirchmann, Karol-Ann Canuel and Hugo Houle stayed behind to give the Olympic podium one last shot.
Two-time Team Time Trial world champion Canuel kicked off the women’s 22.1-kilometer time trial, followed closely by three-time national ITT champion Kirchmann. Both women clocked a time of 33 minutes, with Kirchmann finishing in 12th with a time of 33:01.64, while Canuel crossed the finish line in 33:07.97, earning her a 14th place.
“I wanted to see how well I could prepare for this time trial and how I could execute on the day,” said Kirchmann. “I’m really happy with my effort, I think I rode technically really well, and I could take the corners and the technical parts of the course quite fast. I could mostly stick to the pacing plan that I wanted and really push to get the most out of myself. I wasn’t thinking about the end result, I really just wanted to execute my best race so overall I’m happy with how the day went.”
Houle was the last Canadian to compete, completing the 44.2-kilometer course in a time of 57:56.46 which kept him in the hot seat for well over 30 minutes. He eventually finished 13th, less than three minutes down gold medallist Promoz Roglic of Slovenia.
“It was a good day; I started with a good pace and went really fast on the first lap, but I was surprised by the heat and struggled a bit in the second one,” said Houle. “When I crossed the line I was first of my wave which is pretty good because there were some strong guys. I was saying this morning if I can beat top-15 that would be awesome so I’m really happy with my ride.”
Tomorrow, cycling heads over to the Ariake Urban Sports Park for the BMX Racing quarterfinals where first-time Olympians James Palmer and Drew Mechielsen will be looking to qualify for the semi-finals. The event can be streamed on CBC Olympics.