(Milton) Canada had a strong start to the UCI Nations Cup in Milton, winning two medals on the first day of competition. But one in particular hints that the rebuilding of the pursuit team may be coming to an end.

The Canada A squad of Erin Attwell, Ariane Bonhomme, Maggie Coles-Lyster and Sarah van Dam came from behind to edge Americans Jennifer Valente, Lily Williams, Olivia Cummins and Chloe Dygert by more than three seconds and get your hands on the bronze medal.

The Canadians finished the race in four minutes, 15,961 seconds (4:15,961). However, they were almost two seconds behind with several laps to go.

“In the first round, they were two seconds ahead of us, but we thought that by doing tighter laps, we could beat them,” explained Bonhomme, the only rider in the group to have taken part in the Tokyo Games. in 2021. We went faster and we made them crack. »

It was still necessary that the four competitors know that their strategy had worked.

“Our coach (Laura Brown) gives us a lot of information even without talking to us, through her travels. We knew we were in a good position,” Bonhomme noted.

“I tend to look around too much in these races, so I saw that we had won our bet, added Coles-Lyster. All that was left was to keep up the pace. That’s what we did. »

This is the first competition in which the four fastest track riders in the country are united in the same pursuit team. For Bonhomme, the program finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think it really gives us confidence. We are a new team and since the Tokyo Games, we have been rebuilding our program. We know we are capable of doing it and we have been trying to do it on race days for a year. We finally succeeded. This is the start of something special, I believe. »

Britons Katie Archibald, Megan Barker, Josie Knight and Jessica Roberts (4:12,539) won gold, ahead of Germany’s Franziska Brausse, Mieke Kröger, Lena Charlotte Reissner and Laura Sussemilch (4:13,511).

The second Canadian team, consisting of Devaney Collier, Adèle Desgagnés, Kiara Lylyk and Fiona Majendie, finished eighth, their run coming to an end in the first elimination round.

In the team sprint, Lauriane Genest, Kelsey Mitchell and Sarah Orban (47,414) narrowly missed the top step of the podium, losing to Mexicans Jessica Salazar Valles, Luz Daniela Gaxiola Gonzalez and Yuli Verdugo Osuna (47,001) .

This is a first conclusive result in the Nations Cup for the Canadian trio. After a difficult first stage in Jakarta, the sprinters did not participate in the Cairo stage.

“We’re still happy with the result,” Genest said when told about the low-key celebrations after the race. I think it’s our best time, so we can’t be disappointed with that. For the gold medal, we had nothing to lose. We gave everything. We were able to work well as a team after a more difficult qualifying this morning. »

It is clear that this result greatly helps Canada’s chances of qualifying for the Paris Olympics.

“Those are big points, really valuable,” Genest said. It was difficult to go to Jakarta, where we had had cases of COVID and we were not really in good shape. »

Poland (47,569) completed the podium.

On the men’s side, Dylan Bibic, Michael Foley, Mathias Guillemette and Carson Mattern narrowly missed – two tenths of a second – their qualification for the small final with a time of 3:52,802 in the afternoon. They finished the competition in fifth place.

It is still their best result of the season after two seventh places at the Nations Cups in Jakarta and Cairo.

It was Britain’s Daniel Bigham, Josh Charlton, Michael Gill and Oliver Wood who won gold in 3:51,310, ahead of Italy’s Davide Boscaro, Francesco Lamon, Manilo Moro and Mattia Pinazzi (3:52,840).

France (Donavan Grondin, Benjamin Thomas, Thomas Boudat, Valentin Tabellion) won bronze in 3:50.375 in a tight race ahead of Australia’s Oliver Bleddyn, Kelland O’Brien, Blake Agnoletto and Conor Leahy (3:50.796 ).

In the men’s team sprint, Canadians James Hedgecock, Tyler Rorke and Nick Wammes finished just off the podium in 43,398, behind Britons Ed Lowe, Hayden Norris and Harry Ledingham-Horn (43,165).

Australians Leigh Hoffman, Matthew Richardson and Matthew Glaetzer (42,125) were too strong for Chinese Shuai Guo, Yu Zhou and Qi Liu (43,122) in the Grand Final.

In the elimination race, Canada also had good results, including two top 10 finishes.

Bibic and Guillemette finished seventh and 12th on the men’s side, while van Dam completed her night’s work with a 10th place finish on the women’s side.

Activities resume on Saturday with the sprint and madison for the ladies, as well as the Keirin and the omnium for the men.