Victoria Olympic cyclist says Canada on the right track

It isn’t so much the credible fifth- or sixth-place finish Jay Lamoureux of Victoria will come away with from the Tokyo Olympic Games. He says it’s more about what it will mean for the next generation of aspiring Island cyclists.

Canada, which qualified sixth Monday in the men’s team pursuit, beat Germany in the 5-8 round Tuesday in a national record clocking of three minutes, 46.769 seconds.

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Derek Gee, Michael Foley, Vincent de Haitre and ­Lamoureux will race-off against Germany again for the fifth-sixth placings this morning at the Izu Velodrome. Italy and Denmark will race-off in the gold-medal final and Australia and New Zealand for the bronze medal in the crash-strewn ­Olympic competition.

Lamoureux’s finish is the best for an Island rider in the team pursuit event at the Olympics since Gillian Carleton of Victoria captured the bronze medal with the Canadian women’s squad at London 2012.

Lamoureux was a cross-country runner out of Oak Bay High, and fledgling road rider, when he was introduced to track cycling in 2015 by veteran local cycling coaches and organizers Lister Farrar and Jeff Ain at the 1994 Commonwealth Games velodrome in Colwood, which was saved from demolition several years ago by the Island cycling community rallying to its defence. That began Lamoureux’s rise to the national and then international levels in team pursuit, including a bronze medal in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and fourth place in the 2019 world championships.

“We are fortunate to have that velodrome in Colwood,” said Lamoureux.

“It helped me improve [as it did Olympic-medallist Carleton before him] and there is so much talent on the horizon in Victoria with a few more riders on the verge of the national team.”

They will certainly have role models to emulate in Lamoureux and Carleton.

Meanwhile, Canada lost to the U.S. in the Olympic women’s team pursuit bronze-medal final to place fourth in Tokyo.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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