By Nick Butler

Monique Sullivan and Kate O'Brien celebrate team sprint gold at the Canadian Track Championships ©Cycling CanadaThere was much praise for the freshly opened Cisco Milton Pan American and Parapan American Velodrome in Toronto following the first night of action at the Canadian Track Championships.


The CAD$47.4 venue (£26.3 million/$40.4 million/€33.6 million), the only such indoor facility in Canada, was due to open last October only for delays in the final stages of construction, pushing the unveiling back over two months.

But with the National Championships to be followed by next week's Milton International Challenge, the venue is making up for lost time, with both competitions doubling as official Pan American Games test events.

Team sprint pair Krista Ruby and Kirsten Sears had the honour of winning the first race in the new Velodrome, although it was Kate O'Brien and Monique Sullivan who ultimately took the gold medal with a time of 35.556sec. 

There was no surprise in the women's team pursuit, where Stephanie Roorda, Jasmin Glaesser and Laura Brown, three members of the squad which won a silver medal at the 2014 International Cycling Union World Championships in Cali, joined Brenna Pauly to secure a comfortable victory in 4:41.898.

Glaesser, also a London 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner, described the track as "pretty amazing" afterwards, adding she had to remind herself that she was not in Europe. 

Jasmin Glaesser, Canada's most successful cyclist on the track in recent years, was among those to praise the new venue ©Getty ImagesJasmin Glaesser, Canada's most successful cyclist on the track in recent years, was among those to praise the new venue ©Getty Images


On the men's side, London 2012 Olympian Joseph Veloce teamed up with Evan Carey and Chris Singleton to win the team sprint, and afterwards compared the track favourably with the London Olympic Velodrome in the Lee Valley VeloPark.

"The track rides beautifully," he told Canadian Cycling Magazine.

"It's smooth, it's fast, it's going to be great to have a home-training site like this.

"It is similar [to the London velodrome] in terms of the surface.

"A very similar shape and very similar feel, it's going to make for such a home-field advantage in a few months at the Pan American Games."

Aidan Caves, Sean Mackinnon, Ed Veal and Remi Pelletier-Roy won the men's team pursuit in 4:18.698, with the relatively slow times in all the races caused by the dry, warm conditions in the indoor venue. 

Action is due to continue with individual finals over the next three days before the Championships close on Tuesday (January 6).

The Milton International Challenge is then scheduled to take place, from January 9 to 11, with the Pan American Games then due to open on July 10. 

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