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Mitchell and Genest qualified for the sprint semi-finals

Frederic Daigle, The Canadian Press

MILTON, Ont. — Kelsey Mitchell and Lauriane Genest qualified for the Nations Cup sprint semi-finals on Friday at the Mettamy National Cycling Center.

The two Canadians needed the play-off race to secure their place.

Mitchell, a gold medalist at the last Olympics and the first Nations Cup of the season, in Scotland last month, gave up the first race to China’s Yufang Guo by less than half a wheel. The officials also used the photo-finish to determine the winner.

The Albertan, however, set her pace in the next two races. She first launched her attack earlier — on the second lap of three — in race two and Guo was unable to catch her. Race three was closer, but Mitchell broke away in the final 100 meters to win.

Genest also yielded the first race to the Japanese Riyu Ohta by a beam. Like his compatriot, Genest, eighth in the discipline in Tokyo, took control of the second race more quickly, quickly dropping Ohta, who was not in the game in the jump-off race.

In the semi-finals, Mitchell will face Colombian Martha Bayona Pineda, while Genest will face the reigning world champion, Germany’s Emma Hinze.

The semi-finals and the medal round will be played in the evening.

Bonhomme and Desgagnés gain experience

In the individual pursuit, the journey of Canadians Ariane Bonhomme and Adèle Desgagnés came to an end in qualifying.

Bonhomme and Desgagnés finished sixth and seventh respectively. Only the first four cyclists obtained their pass.

The two Maple Leaf representatives finished 5.738 and 7.386 seconds off the fourth best time, which was set by Australia’s Pate Ember.

The Canadian team had no target for this discipline, which is not on the Olympic program, but which is contested in the World Cup.

“It was mainly to allow them to gain experience at this level of competition and to position themselves on the international scene, explained the director of high performance at Cycling Canada, Kris Westwood. They will be able to continue to progress in this discipline and possibly participate in the World Championships. It’s never a bad thing to have more experience on the international stage.”

Friday evening, Mathias Guillemette will start on the oval for the race by elimination. Sarah van Dam will do the same for the ladies, while Ngaire Barraclough will be scratching.