Track

Canada's Kelsey Mitchell advances to semis in track cycling sprint

Canada had a case of friendly fire on Saturday at the Izu Velodrome with world record-holder Kelsey Mitchell advancing to race for a medal after defeating fellow Canadian Lauriane Genest in their women's track sprint quarter-final.

27-year-old downs fellow Canadian Lauriane Genest in best-of-3 quarter-final

Canada's Kelsey Mitchell, left, and Lauriane Genest, right, compete in the women's track cycling sprint quarter-finals during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Izu Velodrome on Saturday. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Canada had a case of friendly fire with the result of it being world record-holder Kelsey Mitchell being in position to race for a medal, qualifying for the semifinals of the women's track sprint at the Tokyo Games on Saturday.

The Sherwood Park, Alta., native Mitchell and Lauriane Genest, of Lévis, Que., were pitted against each other in the quarter-finals in a best-of-three scenario, which Mitchell took by winning two consecutive races.

Mitchell was in the trailing position all the way through the first race until the very end, when she was able to make a late push to close out a win with a time of 11.068 seconds.

The next time around, Mitchell started up front until Genest took the lead, going underneath Mitchell, just as the bells rang to start the 200-metre race. From that point forth, it became a repeat of the first race, as Mitchell used a late push around the final bend and drove through the final leg to win in a time 11.055 seconds. 

As a result, Genest will compete in the fifth-to-eighth seed final on Sunday in Izu, Japan.

Mitchell said the two had never raced each other, and joked that they'd save the first time for the Olympics. But they had hoped they'd be racing against each other for medals.

"It sucks when you knock out one of your teammates," Mitchell said. 

Genest agreed.

"It's not something that we want. We both want to be in the top four and race for that medal tomorrow," Genest said. "But I'd rather lose against her than any other country or anyone else."

In the medal race of the men's madison, Canadian duo Derek Gee and Michael Foley did not finish the race. The two lost a lap early on, costing them 20 points prior to even earning one, and officials eventually pulled them from the race.

Denmark ended up as the eventual gold-medal winners in the event's return to the Olympic programme since Beijing in 2008. Great Britain won silver, while France took bronze.

Although there were no medals on the line, there was definitely some drama in the early stages of the men's keirin.

Canadian Hugo Barrette initially won his heat in the first round, but the race was stopped due to a crash between Malaysia's Shah Sahrom and Kazakhstan's Sergey Ponomaryov. After much deliberation, a restart was called between the four remaining in the heat.

Barrette, of Îles de la Madeleine, Que., ended up taking a fall himself in the restarted race, sending him into the repechage race.

The 30-year-old ended up finishing fourth in that race, which ended his competition.

Nick Wammes of Bothwell, Ont., finished fifth in the first round, as well as his repechage, and did not advance.

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