Road To The Olympic Games

Annie Foreman-Mackey wins individual pursuit bronze at cycling worlds

Canadian Annie Foreman-Mackey wins nation's first medal of the cycling world championships with a bronze in the women's individual pursuit on Wednesday.

Canadian cyclist beats U.S. foe to win country's 1st medal of event

Canada's Annie Foreman-Mackey takes bronze in the women's individual pursuit final during the 2016 track cycling world championships at the Lee Valley VeloPark in London, England. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

Canadian Annie Foreman-Mackey won bronze in the women's individual pursuit on the first day of the 2016 UCI track cycling world championships on Wednesday in London. 

The cyclist from Kingston, Ont., rode the individual pursuit qualification with a time of three minutes, 35.694 seconds. Foreman-Mackey, 24, faced Ruth Winder from the U.S. in the final and won with a time of 3:36.055.

"It's pretty exciting," said Foreman-Mackey.  "We came into the world championships with a lot of focus on the Team Pursuit.  We've done a lot of training and so it was awesome to be able to let that training shine today.  I'm really excited.  It was a surprise, and I'm really happy.  I've done one [Individual] Pursuit at Pan Am Championships before but, other then that, this is the biggest ride I've done."

Rebecca Wiasak of Australia made a successful defence of her individual pursuit title.

Wiasak, who set a velodrome record in qualifying, won in 3:34.099. Malgorzata Wojtyra of Poland was second, 7.8 seconds behind.

"I am so happy with my own performance: it's a huge improvement on my performance at the national championships," Wiasak said. "I am really proud of the way I turned that around and I guess fed off the confidence, our whole squad has been training so well in the lead up."

The individual pursuit is not an Olympic event.

"I was named as the reserve for the team pursuit and that is still my goal, I really want to break into the team before Rio," Wiasak said.

China downgraded in women's team sprint

China was downgraded from gold to silver for an illegal change in the women's team sprint at the track cycling world championships on Wednesday, handing the title to Russia.

Initially, it looked to be a repeat of last year's top two at the worlds in Paris, with China and Russia taking gold and silver respectively.

The changeover is meant to happen on a designated part of the track, but a rule infringement meant the Chinese pair of Gong Jinjie and Zhong Tianshi were penalized

There was no leave to appeal and with the Chinese not able to challenge the decision, the gold went to Daria Shmeleva and Anastasiia Voinova in 32.679 seconds.

China head coach Benoit Vetu was going to hospital with a suspected broken right hand after he angrily hit a table on learning the decision. His hand was subsequently bandaged and packed with ice.

He told The Associated Press: "It was just one millimetre too early. It is the rules but the rules are bad."

The Russian pair was almost speechless.

"It is like something unbelievable, unforgettable, I cannot say how I feel really because it is like 'oh wow'," Voinova said.

"We were ready to fight: it didn't work with the time. We were satisfied with the silver medal and when we heard that the Chinese team was relegated, we were very happy."

Olympic champion Germany was third, beating Australia in the bronze medal race-off.

The Canadian women's duo of Kate O'Brien and Monique Sullivan qualified ninth after a false start.  The result meant that they did not qualify for the medal round, however, they did beat Americas rivals Colombia (11th) and Mexico (12th), ensuring a spot for Canada at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in August.

"It's a bit surreal actually [qualifying for Rio].  I don't think it's really hit yet," said O'Brien. "It's been such a long process to get there, clawing for those points race after race ... and now it has culminated in the end goal."

With files from The Associated Press

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