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Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell wins women’s sprint silver at Nations Cup

Canadian cyclist Kelsey Mitchell had a definite game plan for the women’s sprint final against Emma Hinze on Friday night at the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup.

“I wanted it to hurt,” she said. “I wanted it to hurt for her and me.”

Mission accomplished on this front.

The aching pain of the blistering final two laps was evident as the rivals pushed each other hard in the best-of-three final at the Mattamy National Cycling Center track. After winning the opener, the German world champion finished a mustache past the Tokyo Olympic champion in the second round, forcing the Canadian to settle for silver.

“I tried to push her,” Mitchell said. “I tried to come back but I didn’t have the right gap every lap. If there was a third lap I might have it but it’s not. First you have to cross the line and unfortunately I didn’t do that.”

Hinze had a 0.019 second advantage on the first lap – about half a wheel – and took the win in a photo-finish, passing Mitchell by just 0.008 seconds.

WATCH | Mitchell wins silver:

Canadian cyclist Kelsey Mitchell wins silver in home sprint

Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell of Sherwood Park, Alta. falls to world champion Emma Hinze of Germany in the women’s sprint gold medal final at the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup in Milton, Ont.

Lauriane Genest of Lévis, Que., missed the podium after losing both runs of third place to Colombia’s Pineda Bayona. Mathias Guillemette of Trois-Rivières, Que., also took fourth place in the men’s elimination race.

Genest, who won bronze in the keirin in Tokyo, teamed up with Mitchell, Sarah Orban of Calgary and Jackie Boyle of Toronto to win bronze in the team sprint on Thursday.

In the results of other Canadians on Friday, Ariane Bonhomme of Gatineau, Que., was sixth in the individual pursuit and Adèle Desgagnes of Montreal seventh. Sarah Van Dam of Victoria was sixth in the elimination race and Ngaire Barraclough of Calgary 16th in the scratch race.

In the men’s scratch race, Jackson Kinniburgh of Calgary was 10th.

“She’s mature, she’s smart and she loves what she does”

Mitchell, a varsity soccer player in college, switched to track cycling in 2017. She won three Canadian Championship medals a year later and won gold at the Pan Am Games in 2019.

Brimming with confidence after her Olympic gold medal last summer, Mitchell won gold in the sprint at last month’s Nations Cup in Glasgow.

WATCH | Canada takes bronze in women’s team pursuit:

Olympic champion Kelsey Mitchell wins women’s sprint silver at Nations Cup

Canada takes bronze in women’s team pursuit at home

Canadians Lauriane Genest, Kelsey Mitchell and Sarah Orban beat Great Britain in the chase for the women’s team sprint bronze medal at the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup in Milton, Ont.

“Some athletes have been competing for many years and they don’t capitalize on what they’re doing,” said Canadian speed track head coach Franck Durivaux. “But every race she does, every competition, every practice [session]it’s an opportunity for her to capitalize and be better.

“I think it’s because she has the maturity, she’s smart and she loves what she does.”

Mitchell, of Sherwood Park, Alta., was in fine form heading into the final, but Hinze found the tactical advantage and kept his speed going to the finish.

“Fighting for the line is a very painful experience, but it’s so rewarding to win,” she said. “It motivates you even more when it’s so close to know that you can beat that person. I will definitely see him again.

“I think the races will continue to be tight and hopefully I will get some wins.”

Mitchell will enjoy the day off Saturday before racing in the keirin on Sunday.

The Nations Cup is essentially a rebranded World Cup. Instead of the usual six-event tour, the track cycling circuit has been reduced to three stages with tougher competition.

This is the fourth year – and the first since the start of 2020 – that the Mattamy National Cycling Center has hosted a Nations Cup / World Cup.

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