The 2009 World Cycling Championships have come and gone. After the United Kingdom literally rewrote the medal cerimonies through out 2008 we witnessed a remarkable improvement from the rest of the world. This should set the stage for some very exciting racing in the next 36 months leading to London 2012.
This year we sent four riders to these Championships. Two sprinters, Monique Sullivan and Travis Smith and two enduros Zack Bell and Tara Whitten.
In the sprint department Travis Smith qualified 30th with a 10.6 200m time. In the women’s Monique qualified 19th with an 11.7s allowing her to advance to the first round.
Monique is one of Canada’s younger women sprinters who shows some signs of ability. Travis on the other hand is a little more seasoned. When I spoke with Travis in 2008 he was recovering from a very nasty crash and a broken pelvis. I can’t comment much more about his preparations leading to these Championships since I have not spoken with him since ‘08. I did see lots of motivation in his eye’s back then, so I know that he will not be pleased with the results this year.
It is always pleasant to speak about our country’s cycling progress – especially when we win something – and win we did. Our Enduros each took home silver medals – both in the Men’s and Women’s Omnium. A lovely improvement certainly for Zack Bell who has trained hard and is shooting for an Olympic medal in London 2012. Tara on the other hand is somewhat new to cycling. When I spoke with her in 2008 she had not raced very much on the track and her preparations that year were somewhat suspect. But she must have found some of the secret because she won a World Cup prior to the World Championships and now is mixing it up on the podium in Poland. A fantastic result to build on for the future.
Interestingly – and very hot off the press – British Columbia Provincial Coach, Mr. Richard Wooles has resigned as Canadian Cycling interim Track Coach. There was some speculation that Richard would take the vacant job and lead our program towards London in 2012. I have known Richard for a couple of years now and always been pleased to hear his ideas and views on training and how he would like to have taken Team Canada to the next level.
CandianCyclist.com ran a well crafted April Fool story that outlined how, incredibly, despite the success at the Worlds, the Federal Government had demanded that the Canadian Cycling Association reallocate the recently awarded funding for the track program over the next Olympic cycle to BMX.
“We just received word from our Sport Canada officer yesterday,” CCA Chief Technical Officer Jacques Landry allegedly told Canadian Cyclist from the Worlds in Pruszkow “This is a complete shock to all of us.”
British Columbia MP Gary Lunn – Minister of State for Sport – had apparently issued a statement. “Cycling is an important and healthy past time that we want to promote and succeed at. I own a bike myself. When I saw the success of BMX at the Beijing Games last year, and the number of kids who ride around the streets of my constituency on BMX bikes, well, I knew that we needed to put more resources into this sport. Plus, for what I understand to be the cost of one Olympic quality indoor cycling track, we can build dozens of BMX tracks across the country.”
According to Landry, the CCA would appeal the decision but “ultimately the funding comes from Sport Canada, and they can put restrictions on how the funds are used. We are still studying the matter, and I will be trying to arrange a meeting with the appropriate Sport Canada officials as soon as I return from Europe.”
Richard Wooles, Team Manager at the Track Worlds, the story claimed, wasn’t so diplomaticand his statements included comments like “bloody bureaucrats” and “I should have stayed in Wales”.
Nice one. Had us fooled for a while.
On a more local level our track in London Ontario is moving along like a metronome http://www.forestcityvelodrome.ca/index.php
We are continually developing more and more racers and from the very grass roots and six members of FCV will be attending the Pan-American Track Trials at the ADT Center in Los Angeles California, April 4-8th – Steve Meyer, Lisa Perlimutter, Allan Lesparskas, Joe Veloce, Ryan Aitcheson and Daniel DiFranchesci. All six will be attempting to qualify for the the National Team that will compete in the Pan American Championships in early May, Mexico.
We also have many events coming up through out the summer months as Team Ontario prepares for the National Champonships. More on that next month.
Gary Lunn photo copyright Canadian House of Commons 2008