Canada will send Max Plaxton, Seamus McGrath and Geoff Kabush to represent the nation at the Pan Am championships in Villa la Angostura, Argentina, on March 11, 2007. The three from Victoria will make the trip with the goal of bolstering their chances to make Canada's 2008 Olympic team, the selection to which is based on the accumulated UCI points of each nation's top three ranked riders at the end of 2006 and at the end of 2007.
"Our men were ranked 11th at the end of 2006, which is dangerously close to dropping from two starters at the Olympics to one starter: the cutoff is 13th place," said High Performance Director Kris Westwood. "We need to gather as many points as feasible in 2007 to ensure we don't fall off the map; the Pan Am championships are worth a lot of points; and realistically it's only Max, Geoff, and Seamus who will have enough points to be counted when it comes to qualification."
National coach Michel Leblanc will manage the team, with the support of mechanic Chad Grochowina. Canada will send no other athletes to the championships, including any women.
"On the women's side, we were ranked third at the end of 2006, and we just need to make sure we stay top eight to keep our two Olympic spots," said Westwood. With Marie-Hélène Prémont doing a full world cup schedule, we aren't likely to have any problems doing this, and Alison Sydor and Kiara Bisaro will also be picking up plenty of points without needing to travel to Argentina in March."
"We debated including development athletes in the projects as well, but the event is very early in the season, so preparing for it would be disruptive for younger athletes. Also, travel to southern Argentina is very expensive, so we need to focus our limited resources on areas that will help us achieve our mandate of achieving Olympic performances."