Victoria’s Erin Attwell with a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit qualification at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. (Photo by Peter Lawless)

Gordon Head cyclist readies for Pan Am road race with medal in pocket

Erin Attwell earns track cycling silver at Pan Am Games

Five days later, Erin Attwell is still in awe of Friday’s silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2019 Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

The Canadian team of Attwell, Miriam Brouwer, Maggie Coles-Lyster and Laurie Jussaume took silver in the 4,000-metre track cycling team pursuit with a time of four minutes, 27.799 seconds. American foursome of Kim Geist, Christina Birch, Lily Williams and Chloe Dygert Owen took gold with a time of 4:24.099.

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“Coming back to the [athlete] village and to be amongst the athletes who have medalled is pretty special,” said the 20-year-old Attwell of Gordon Head. “We are a tight-knit team, [there’s] no other group of ladies I’d rather share the podium with.”

It’s one of four medals Canadian women won in track cycling as Coles-Lyster and Brouwer also won silver in the madison. Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell won gold in individual sprint and silver in the team sprint with Amelia Walsh.

On Tuesday, Attwell and two of her Canadian teammates from the team pursuit got their first pre-ride reconnaissance of Saturday’s women’s road race. Brouwer, of Burlington, Ont., and Coles-Lyster, of Maple Ridge, will be in the road race with Attwell.

“It’s not technical and has one short climb of about 500m,” said Attwell of the 83km road course. “The hill could be a deciding factor as it is about 12 per cent up so there won’t be anywhere to hide in the pack. It’s all power, and whoever has the most will make it over the top. It’s not long enough to make a huge dent in the group.”

If someone does break away, the Canadians believe it will be tough to build more than a 20-second lead. Because it’s such a flat course otherwise, they believe the group will bring it back.

Going into the road race American Chloe Dygert Owen is a favourite while both Jussaume and Attwell are former junior national road race champions.

In terms of track, the foursome are now looking forward to January when they’ll host the Milton World Cup on their home track.

“Coming into the competition with expectations as a development team, we knew we could get a medal if we pulled off a clean, fast ride, which is exactly what we did. We got a PB (personal best) for our group, and to be able to achieve this in an environment that wasn’t ideal (track was cold and air density was high, which meant the track wasn’t running fast) made it even more special.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

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