The 1994 Commonwealth Games/ Westshore Velodrome is no longer modern — only a concerted effort by the Island cycling community saved it — but it continues to produce world-class cyclists.
For the second time in the past three Olympics, a cyclist out of Westshore Velodrome will represent Canada in the Summer Games. Jay Lamoureux of Victoria was named to the Canadian men’s pursuit team for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have been postponed to next summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gillian Carleton of Victoria used the Westshore Velodrome to rehabilitate from a serious car accident and went on to win a bronze medal with the Canadian women’s pursuit team at the 2012 London Olympics.
“The Greater Victoria Velodrome Association got me started in the sport and what an amazing place it was to ride,” Lamoureux said.
The Canadian track and road teams for the Tokyo Games were announced Wednesday. The Canadian mountain-biking program, based at Bear Mountain, will announce its team next June.
“There was a lot of disappointment and frustration at first due to the delay of the Olympics to next year,” Lamoureux said. “But I just made a silver lining out of the situation and have spent the time figuring out why I fell in love with the sport to begin with.”
That includes a current cross-provincial cycling trip from the Island to Canmore, Alta.
The men’s track team in Tokyo will consist of Lamoureux, Derek Gee of Osgoode, Ont., Michael Foley of Milton, Ont., and two-time Winter Olympics speed skater Vincent de Haître of Cumberland, Ont. All four will compete in the team pursuit, with Gee and Foley also competing in the madison.
Lamoureux, 24, ran middle-distance track and cross-country at Oak Bay Secondary before switching to cycling at the Westshore Velodrome. The former Oak Bay jazz band member is part of a national pursuit team that has been coming on furiously and finished the season ranked in the world top-10 to earn Canada a spot at the Olympics for the first time in more than 30 years.
Lamoureux and the Canadian pursuit team have won medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and 2019 Lima Pan Am Games in stripping 24 seconds off the Canadian record in six years.
“It’s a good group of guys that is fully committed to the process,” Lamoureux said.
Hugo Barrette of Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Que., and Nick Wammes of Bothwell, Ont., will represent Canada in the sprint and keirin events in Tokyo and Hugo Houle of Ste-Perpétue, Que., and Mike Woods of Ottawa in the men’s road race. A third men’s road spot will be filled next May with Victoria riders Adam de Vos and Riley Pickrell among the leading candidates.
The Canadian women’s team pursuit track squad won Olympic bronze at both London 2012 and Rio 2016. It will consist of B.C. veterans Jasmin Duehring of Coquitlam and Georgia Simmerling of Vancouver along with newcomers Annie Foreman-Mackey and Ariane Bonhomme. Allison Beveridge of Calgary will compete in the team pursuit and omnium and Lauriane Genest of Lévis, Que., and Kelsey Mitchell of Sherwood Park, Alta., both in the sprint and keirin.
Karol-Ann Canuel of Amos, Que., and Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg will compete in the Tokyo women’s road race and time trial.
The Juan de Fuca Velodrome, meanwhile, is likely to continue producing talent for the Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 Olympics, as well, through projected future track cycling star Erin Attwell of Victoria.
“The likes of Erin is how we ensure the next generation,” said two-time Olympic-medallist Duehring, who is retiring after Tokyo. “Erin is a huge part of that future as we look to pass on the knowledge to the next generation.”