Canada sweeps track cycling sprint events

Canada's track cyclists got off to a fast start at the Pan Am Games, completing a gold-medal sweep in the men's and women's team sprint races on Thursday.

Men's, women's teams win Pan Am gold

Canada's Hugo Barrette leads teammates Evan Carey and Joseph Veloce in the track cycling men's team sprint final at the Pan Am Games. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Canada's track cyclists got off to a fast start at the Pan Am Games, completing a gold-medal sweep in the men's and women's team sprint races on Thursday.

The men's team took the first track cycling gold by defeating Venezuela.

Hugo Barrette of Cap-aux-Meules, Que., Victoria's Evan Carey and Joseph Veloce of St. Catharines. Ont., completed a comeback victory with a three-lap time of 44.241 seconds.

"Having thousands of Canadian fans yelling before your race, it's electrifying. It almost charges you up like the energizer bunny," said Carey.

The Canadians did have home-field advantage as they had spent months training at the facility leading up to the Games. And Carey believes having such a venue readily available can only help the national program.

"Training here is the next step for Canadian cycling," he said. "This facility is the game-changer.

"It's the launch pad for a rocket ship, to send us on to world championship medals and hopefully more Olympic medals."

Venezuela's Hersony Canelon Vera, Cesar Marcano Sanchez and Angel Pulgar Araujo came up short, clocking in at 45.087.

Brazil rounded out the podium with the bronze. 

Canada's women's sprint team completed the sweep with a triumph over Cuba in their final.

Kate O'Brien and Monique Sullivan, both of Calgary, set a Pan Am record in qualifying races earlier in the day, clocking in at a time of 33.584 seconds.

The pair continued their success later, setting a time of 33.959 to take down Lisandra Guerra and Marlies Mejias.

The victory was especially sweet for Sullivan because both her mother and grandmother were there to watch her winning ride.

"It's so special because so often we travel the furthest places and no one can be part of it, especially the people who have supported me at home," she said. "My mother hasn't seen me race since 2008, my first World Cup . . . so this is just amazing to have them here."

Sullivan said neither she nor O'Brien were concerned their record performance in qualifying would leave lacking energy in the final.

"This is like a training day for us," she said. "We have two sessions a day so we were prepared to come back this afternoon with good legs."

Colombia captured bronze.

With files from the Canadian Press


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