The individual sprint of the track cycling Nations Cup that took place this weekend at the Mattamy National Cycling Center velodrome in Milton, Canada, had an unusual event: the three medalists were from America: the Canadian Kelsey Mitchell with gold, Colombian Martha Bayona in silver and Mexican Luz Daniela Gaxiola with bronze.
Mitchell secured a win in the first heat of the final, holding a lead for the first two laps before accelerating to avoid a furious Bayonne attempt to pass on the final lap.
The roles were reversed in the second heat, with the Colombian leading to start, who blocked multiple pass attempts from Mitchell both inside and outside. In the sprint she overtook the Canadian and forced a winner-take-all third set.
The final race started with Mitchell carefully leading the way after the first lap, so Bayona wouldn’t surprise her. Everything was defined with a powerful start from the Olympic champion against which the South American could do nothing. “The definition was very tough, but I didn’t want to disappoint so many people who came to see me win here,” acknowledged the hostess.
“I’m very happy with my result,” Mitchell told Cycling Canada. “I know I’m not at my best, so I had to run more tactically than usual. I always rely on my athletic abilities to win races, but I really think I learned a lot and used the track correctly. I want to build on this momentum to get more points for the Olympic qualification,” he said.
The third drawer of the medals was reserved for the Mexican Luz Daniela Gaxiola González, who defeated the Belgian Nicky Degrendele. Previously, Gaxiola had lost in the semifinals against the Colombian player on the tiebreaker hit.
In the men’s keirin final, Canada’s James Hedgcock narrowly missed a podium finish in fourth, while Australia’s Matthew Richardson, Germany’s Maximilian Dornbach and Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul took gold, silver and bronze, respectively.
Canada also added the silver medal in team sprint at the Nations Cup. The trio of Lauriane Genest, Kelsey Mitchell and Sarah Orban lost to Mexico (Daniela Gaxiola, Yuli Verdugo and Jessica Salazar) in the final, a historic success for Mexican cycling.