Cycling Canada hosts AGM at Bear Mountain

The Island is the last Canadian stop before you hit Japan.

So it is, symbolically, a fitting place for Cycling Canada to host its annual general meeting this weekend at Bear Mountain as it prepares for the year leading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

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A number of events have taken place during the AGM. Among them was a visit Friday to Campus View Elementary School in Gordon Head.

Tokyo hopefuls Haley Smith and Andrew L’Esperance from mountain biking, Annie Foreman-Mackie from women’s team pursuit track cycling, Sara Poidevin from road cycling and Evelyne Gagnon from para-cycling met students and offered cycling tips as part of the iRide program.

There will be a lot to look forward to on two wheels in Tokyo next year for Canada.

“We believe Mike Woods will be a contender in the Olympic men’s road race,” said Matthew Jeffries, executive director of Cycling Canada.

The 2015 Pan American Games Velodrome in Milton, Ont., is paying big dividends. Canada’s track team pursuit squads will also be a podium threat in Tokyo, with Jay Lamoureux of Victoria part of the Canadian men’s team that won bronze at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and placed fourth in the 2019 UCI world championships in Poland.

The women’s mountain-biking team is another strong contender, with 2016 Rio Olympics bronze-medallist Catharine Pendrel, Rio Olympics fourth-placed Emily Batty and 2018 Commonwealth Games medallist Smith all in what is a potent mix.

“We have three world-class riders capable of being on the Olympic podium in Tokyo in women’s mountain bike, but unfortunately only two qualification spots for Canada,” Jeffries said.

That’s actually a nice problem to have.

“We have a lot more depth now, and the amount of Canadian riders competing at the international level has increased,” Jeffries said.

It should continue to improve, as evidenced by the silver medal won by Erin Attwell of Victoria and her Canadian development team mates in the women’s track team pursuit in the 2019 Lima Pan American Games this summer .

Jeffries, however, said: “BMX will be challenging in Tokyo, but we have an outside shot.”

The team to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics will be outstanding, Jeffries said, with a strong follow-up expected to the 11 Canadian cycling medals won at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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