TORONTO –Para-cyclist Mark Ledo of Maple, Ont., won Canada’s first gold medal to highlight day one of competition at the Parapan American Games.
Ledo led a Canadian double medal performance in the men’s H3-5 road race with gold in one hour and 22 minutes and 17 seconds. In a photo finish for the silver, William Lachenauer of the U.S. edged out Charles Moreau Victoriaville, Que., as both were time in 1:22.36.
“My race was great today,” said Ledo. “For it to be the first gold medal of the Games makes it extra special.”
In the mixed road race tandem, Daniel Chalifour of Mont-Laurier, Que., and his guide Alexandre Cloutier of St-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que., overcame a mechanical issue to win the silver medal in a photo finish. Nelson Serna and Sebastian Durango of Colombia were declared the winners and both pairs clocked 2:07.40.
“We’re satisfied and frustrated at the same time,” said Cloutier. “It was unfortunate to have the mechanical breakdown but to come back so strong to get second was good. There are three more races ahead to try and get the gold.”
Robbi Weldon of Thunder Bay, Ont., and her pilot Audrey Lemieux of Montreal were fifth just 0.04 seconds from the podium and Shawna Ryan of Saskatoon and Joanie Caron of Rimouski, Que., sixth.
In the mixed road race in the H1-2M/H1-5W, Robert Labbé of Quebec City won the bronze medal behind two American riders.
“I’m very satisfied with my race,” said Labbé. ‘’It was great day and I felt fit. The first lap was very tough but I relied on my technique on the second lap and that’s how I moved into a medal position.’’
Another bronze was earned by Louis-Albert Corriveau-Jolin of Ste-Claire, Que., in the mixed T1 road race. Marie-Ève Croteau of Quebec City was fifth and world women’s champion Shelley Gautier of Toronto sixth.
“I’m happy and proud to the first Canadian medallist at the Games,” said Corriveau-Jolin. “It increases my chances to go to the Paralympic Games next year.”
Nicole Clermont of St-Denis-de-Brompton, Que., won bronze in the women’s C1-5 with Marie-Claude Molnar of Montreal fifth.
“An incredible feeling,” said Clermont. “To fight for the gold medal right until the end of the race is very satisfying for me. My goal was to get on the podium and I’m very proud.”
In the men’s C1-3 race, Mike Sametz of Calgary was fifth and Ross Wilson of Sherwood Park, Alta., did not finish.
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Corey Beard | Marc Dorion