The cycling events at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, concluded on Saturday evening with the Criterium competitions for women and men. Gillian Ellsay of British Columbia took her second title of the Games, as did Pier-Andre Cote of Quebec for the men.
Crowds came out to watch the short and exciting final cycling events of the Games. Riders accumulated points in intermediate sprints through the race (every five laps), with the top four riders in each sprint getting points.
Ellsay, the winner of the Time Trial earlier in the week, attacked on the sixth lap of the 25 lap women’s race, riding away solo for the rest of the race to win four of the five sprints and take the gold medal with 30 points. Simone Boilard of Quebec, the winner of the road race, finished second with 22 points and Katherine Maine of Ontario won the bronze medal with 13 points.
“This medal is probably more special than the first one,” admitted Ellsay, “since it involved the whole team. They were covering everything in the pack and it was an awesome race from them. It was our plan to attack as much as we could, since we knew Quebec and Ontario probably had a better chance in the sprints. But I didn’t expect to get a gap that fast. At nine laps to go I started to believe that I could win.”
The 35 lap men’s race was dominated by Team Quebec, who won all seven of the sprints and swept the medals. Cote, winner of the men’s road race, won four sprints, for 38 points. Team mates Marc-Antoine Soucy and Raphael Auclair took silver and bronze with 27 and 24 points, respectively.
“We were pretty confident for the sprints,” said Cote. “We had a good squad, with Adam Roberge and Nickolas Zukowsky covering attacks for us. They did an awesome job of keeping the peloton together. They were able to get us to the front for the U-turn, and after that we just had to launch our sprint at every single points sprint. We wanted to make 1-2-3, and we did.”
Josh Peacock, Competitions Coordinator at Cycling Canada, summed up the Criteriums, “the events went as expected; super fast with lots of action at the front. The teams had their different strategies, which you could see. Quebec was very strong in the men’s race and executed perfectly. In the women’s race, there was a plan to go out ahead and they pulled it off.”
“The Games have been amazing. Winnipeg has been an incredible host city; everything from the venues to the staff, the volunteers and the festival. It has been awesome, not only for spectators, but for athletes, officials and staff. I think everyone had a really positive experience.”
Cycling Canada is the governing body for competitive cycling in Canada. Founded in 1882, Cycling Canada aims to create and sustain an effective system that develops talented Canadian cyclists to achieve Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championship medal performances. With the vision of being a leading competitive cycling nation by 2020 celebrating enhanced international success, increased national participation and world class event hosting, Cycling Canada manages the High Performance team, hosts national and international events and administers programs to promote and grow cycling across the country. Cycling Canada programs are made possible through the support of its valued corporate partners – Global Relay, Lexus Canada, Mattamy Homes, Louis Garneau and Bear Mountain Resort – along with the Government of Canada, Own The Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.