Women's team pursuit headlines Canadian Olympic cycling team
Joëlle Numainville left off team, will appeal decision
Canada will send a total of 19 cyclists to Rio this summer, covering each of the four Olympic disciplines; BMX, mountain bike, road, and track.
It is a team of both contenders and wild storylines; one that features a road cyclist appealing her omission from the team.
London 2012 bronze medallist Jasmin Glaesser returns. She will be part of the women's team pursuit team that captured a silver medal at the world championships this season.
"We have proven ourselves to be contenders for the top step of the podium at every competition we have attended since London 2012 and I fully expect us to be ready to challenge for the gold in Rio," said Glaesser in Wednesday's Canadian Olympic Committee release.
Remarkably, the team pursuit includes West Vancouver's Georgia Simmerling, who is a two-time Olympic skier (alpine 2010, ski cross 2014). Simmerling doggedly cracked the lineup just months ago, after taking up track cycling full-time last year. She will become the first Canadian to compete in three Olympics in three different sports. The team is rounded out by Allison Beveridge (Calgary), Laura Brown (Vancouver), and Kirsti Lay (Montreal).
However, this team selection is not without controversy. London Olympian Joëlle Numainville, of Montreal, announced she would appeal Cycling Canada's decision, calling her exclusion "unexpected and inexplicable," through a press release on Wednesday.
"I have hard time understanding Cycling Canada's decision in view of my results and my experience. On the basis of the criteria indicated in the Olympic Selection Policy, I have my spot on the team."
"It would seem that my case is not unique. We have decided to appeal the decision of Cycling Canada. I hope that the appeal will decide in my favour and that I will be able to help my teammates win medals at the Rio Olympics."
Numainville is scheduled to hold a news conference in Montreal on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.
According to Cycling Canada's Olympic selection policy, the national coach recommends riders for the team from a qualification pool. Numainville argues that she has established her eligibility for that pool.
Other top Canadians are Tara Whitten, who won Olympic bronze with the team pursuit in 2012, and has switched to the road race. There's also two-time world champion Catharine Pendrel for mountain bike, and worlds medallist Tory Nyhaug in BMX.
From near death to the Olympics
This Olympic nomination is particularly special for sprinter Hugo Barrette, Canada's only man on the track. The 24-year-old from Quebec's tiny Magdalen Islands suffered serious injuries from a training crash in late October of 2015. He won his first World Cup medal on 81 days later, securing vital Olympic qualification points.
Here's the full list of cyclists for Rio 2016
- Hugo Barrette, Îles de la Madeleine, Que.
- Allison Beveridge, Calgary
- Laura Brown, Vancouver
- Jasmin Glaesser, Vancouver
- Kirsti Lay, Montreal
- Kate O'Brien, Calgary
- Georgia Simmerling, West Vancouver, B.C.
- Monique Sullivan, Calgary
- Emily Batty, Brooklin, Ont.
- Léandre Bouchard, Alma, Que.
- Raphaël Gagné, Quebec City, Que.
- Catharine Pendrel, Kamloops, B.C.
- Karol-Ann Canuel, Gatineau, Que.
- Antoine Duchesne, Chicoutimi, Que.
- Hugo Houle, Ste-Perpétue, Que.
- Leah Kirchmann, Winnipeg
- Tara Whitten, Calgary
- Mike Woods, Ottawa
- Tory Nyhaug, Coquitlam, B.C.