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Two track cyclists react at the end of a sprint race, won by the Canadian in the light blue jerseyCycling Canada / Ivan Rupes
Cycling Canada / Ivan Rupes

Kelsey Mitchell wins first Canadian gold of 2023 Track Nations Cup

The star of the show in Canadian cycling, Kelsey Mitchell, reminded fans of her greatness on Saturday with a come-from-behind win in the women’s sprint at the UCI Track Nations World Cup in Milton, Ont.

Mitchell was trailing for two of the three laps in a race for gold against Colombia’s Bayona Pineda, but put together a remarkable last lap to pass Pineda in the final turn.

“I am so happy with my result. I know I’m not at my best so I had to race more tactically than normal,” Mitchell told Cycling Canada. “Normally, I just power through it and rely on my athletic abilities to win the races. But I really think I learned a lot and used the track properly.”

Mitchell qualified for the elimination rounds with a time of 10.756 seconds. Her teammate Lauriane Genest had the top time in the qualifying round, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Mitchell advanced through three elimination rounds, before taking down Pineda in the final. Mexico’s Gaxiola Gonzalez won bronze.

On the men’s side, James Hedgcock narrowly missed the podium in the men’s keirin, finishing fourth which is a Track Nations Cup-best result for the racer.

Action will conclude on Sunday with the men’s madison, men’s sprint, women’s keirin, and women’s omnium.

Women’s cycling teams take two podiums on Friday

On Friday night, the women’s team sprint squad and team pursuit squad both reached the podium in front of home fans in Milton, Ont. at the UCI Track Nations World Cup.

In the team sprint Olympic medallists Kelsey Mitchell and Lauriane Genest partnered with Sarah Orban to capture silver. The star-studded team got off to an underwhelming start, finishing with just the fourth-fastest time in the qualifying round.

However, it was enough to qualify for the first round where they beat out China in a head-to-head race. They sprinted to a 47.477 to qualify for the final.

In a nail-biter, Team Canada lost out on gold to Mexico, finishing just 0.4 seconds behind the gold medal winners.

“This is very close to our best time. Going for the gold medal, we had nothing to lose and we really gave it our all,” Genest said to Cycling Canada.

In the team pursuit, Sarah Van Dam, Maggie Coles-Lyster, Ariane Bonhomme and Erin Attwell raced to a bronze, after beating the United States in a bronze metal race.

The team qualified for medal contention after a strong qualifying round, finishing 2.3 seconds behind the eventual-gold medallist Britain squad.

Day two of the UCI Track Nations Cup was the first full day of competition for races. The finals for women’s madison, women’s sprint, men’s keirin, and men’s omnium will take place on Saturday.