Canada’s Roorda claims first individual Worlds medal with bronze in scratch race

Stephanie Roorda claimed her first individual medal at a track World Championships Thursday when she finished third in the women's scratch race behind Laura Trott (Great Britain) and Kirsten Wild (Netherlands).

The 29-year-old from Calgary had previously medaled in the World Championships last year when she earned a bronze in the team pursuit, and she said Thursday that her scratch race performance was a good indicator that the Canadian pursuiters have been putting in the hard work to vie for the win the week in London.

"It feels great, Roorda said in the infield at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London. “I think it's a testament to the work we do as team pursuit riders. We're really fit and then we can perform in other events as well. I'm really, really happy to perform in an individual event and prove that in team pursuit we're doing the right stuff."

Roorda and her teammates will have the chance to prove their stuff again on Friday when they take on the US in the team pursuit finals after setting the second-fastest qualifying time.

The Canadian line-up of Allison Beveridge, Jasmin Galesser, Kirsti Lay and Georgia Simmerling came in four seconds slower than the Americans, just beating out New Zealand and Australia.

"We're going for a gold medal, we have good hopes for that," Roorda said in response to a question about what the Canadian pursuit team can achieve. "(The qualifying ride) was good. We can make some improvements, and that's what we're going to bring to tomorrow."

But Thursday was all about Roorda's effort in the scratch race, where she initiated the move that brought back an early breakaway and saw the leaders make a late surge in the final half of the last lap to take the top three spots.

"It was that moment that I saw the right move and I knew that some of the big names were behind me," she said of her effort to bring back the leaders. “If I could open that gap and get to the group of riders, then go over them and make the other riders go over them as well, I think it’s going to be to my advantage to hold them off as long as possible.

"No one was really keen to make the final move to catch that group," she said. "There was a moment of hesitation, and that was the moment I saw to take and bridge to the group and go right over them. That was just the moment I saw."

Trott remained calm as more riders tried to bridge the gap and eventually brought the escapees back to heel. The eventual winner hid in the group until they hit the back straight, moving off the wheel of Roorda in the final corner to surge ahead for victory. Wild also overcame Roorda and tried to come over the top of Trott as well, but the Dutch rider didn't have the legs to overhaul her in the final run to the line.

Roorda, meanwhile, was just happy to hang on for her first individual medal.

"You just go as hard as you can at the point, sprinting for the finish line and not thinking about anything really," she said.

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