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Canada’s Kelsey Mitchell strikes gold in women’s keirin for 2nd medal at Nations Cup

Canadian cyclist Kelsey Mitchell raced to gold in the women’s keirin event for her second individual medal at the Tissot UCI Track Nations Cup on Sunday in Milton, Ont.

Mitchell narrowly edged out Japan’s Mina Sato and world champion Lea Sophie Friedrich, of Germany, for the top spot on the podium. Friedrich was later relegated.

The Sherwood Park, Alta., native also gained silver in the women’s sprint on Friday.

“I’m really happy with what I did — I like going to the front because it’s safer up there and usually my legs will hold on,” the 28-year-old Mitchell said. “I wanted to go in there and do my best, and that’s what I did. I was happy to make it through qualifying and not have to do a repechage.

“It was a close one in the semis, I barely got through but qualified for the final and left it all out there. It’s so nice to be on your home track, I train here almost every single day and then looking up and seeing my friends and family was very special.”

Lauriane Genest, of Lévis, Que., crashed out in a collision with Dutch cyclist Steffie van der Peet and Japan’s Yuka Kobayashi on the fifth of six laps.

Genest, who won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics less than a year ago in the same event, also gained bronze in the team sprint with Mitchell, Sarah Orban, and Jackie Boyle earlier in the four-day competition.

“The crash was scary, you never want to see that. Lauriane’s okay and I hope the other riders are as well,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell started out the race in fourth place among the six racers and stayed in that spot until she made her move outside and lept out to first place just as the riders had started the fifth lap.

The first turn of the lap was where the collision happened, leaving the top three to battle for first.

On the final turn of the sixth lap, Friedrich and Sato made a strong push for first but Mitchell was able to hold on for the triumph.

Mitchell is the reigning Olympic champion in the women’s sprint, and finished fifth in the keirin at the Tokyo Games last summer.

In the sprint event, Olympian Nick Wammes and Ryan Dodyk both clocked fast times in the qualifying race, finishing with the sixth and seventh best times respectively and Dodyk setting a personal best clocking in at 9.717 seconds.

After four days of racing, Canada concludes the event with a total of three medals — bronze in the team sprint (Mitchell, Genest, Orban, Boyle), silver in the sprint (Mitchell) and gold in the keirin (Mitchell).

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