Canada, USA miss out, Venezuela qualifies 5 for London
Neither the USA nor Canada were able to secure a place in the London Summer Olympic Games for their men's or women's team sprint squads at the UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.
Canada's men finished 11th, shy of the points it needed to surpass Venezuela in the race for one of the 10 places awarded for the three-man teams in London. The Venezuelans finished 8th to secure a birth.
Travis Smith teamed up with Joseph Veloce and Hugo Barrette in a new team combination for Canada, and was disappointed with his own performance but hopeful for the future. "We were planning to come here and get a top 10. I felt like I had a pretty bad last lap," said Smith. "This year we were dealing with a lot of new guys, and I had an injury in August where I was in the Intensive Care Unit for a week. The race here wasn't horrible. We have room to improve."
The United States fared even worse, while their time was just shy of beating Venezuela, Michael Blatchford, Kevin Mansker and Jimmy Watkins were relegated for exchanging outside the specified zone, as were Germany and Great Britain.
"At the end of the day, I was proud of the way we came into this," USA Cycling Director of Sprint Jamie Staff said. "The guys' times were on par with what I was hoping. It's disappointing to be disqualified. I'm proud of what the lads have done in such a short time. They've come on in leaps and bounds mentally, physically, emotionally, everything. We gave it our best shot. As long you've tried your hardest and done everything you can, you can walk out of the arena with your head held high."
Meanwhile, Venezuela added five members to its Olympic team through its placing in the men's team sprint and also in the women's team sprint by besting Colombia. Daniela Larreal and Mariesthela Vilera took 11th in the womens' team sprint, gaining enough points to also qualify Larreal for her fifth Olympic Games in the individual sprint. Hersony Canelón, Ángel Pulgar and César Marcano will likely represent Venezuela in London after their 8th place finish in Melbourne.
Neither the USA nor Canada qualified a women's team sprint place for the world championships.
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