The cycling events at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games in Chile came to a close on Sunday, with seven Canadian athletes participating in the road race. The competition culminated in a solid performance by Riley Pickrell of Victoria, B.C., who finished in eighth.
The races unfolded on a challenging 17.5-km circuit that started and finished at the Plaza de la Aviación. The route featured a demanding climb in each lap, ascending 183 m through Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, which is Latin America’s largest urban park, before running alongside the Mapocho River.
Men’s road race
The men’s race was nine laps, covering a total distance of 157.5 km. Reflecting on his experience, the 22-year-old sprinter said the experience was pretty special.
“The crowds were insane, like nothing I’ve ever raced in before. Up the climb especially, I wasn’t able to hear myself breathe, and I was breathing really hard! It’s a crazy experience: there’s drums, there’s flares, there’s smoke, it’s so much fun to race here,” he said. “The main thing was how early the race started and to accept that there’s 100km to go, and I’m already on my hands and knees, but so is everyone else, so you have to keep riding, keep riding, keep riding, and it will come through.”
The other three Canadian participants in the men’s race were members of the men’s pursuit team that had won gold just two days earlier. Chris Ernst of Kitchener, Ont., aged 24, also delivered a strong performance, finishing in the top 20, coming in 17th. Campbell Parrish, 18, from Vancouver, 18, was 26th. Carson Mattern, 19, of Ancaster, Ont., had to withdraw after five laps.
Jonathan Manuel Narváez Prado from Ecuador took gold. Silver and bronze went to Eduardo Sepulveda and Antonio Eric Fagundez Lima from Argentina, respectively.
Women’s road race
In the women’s race, the number of laps was reduced to six from seven due to morning rain, resulting in a total distance of 105 km. Adèle Normand from Alma, Que., 21, led the Canadian team from the start and took 13th.
Normand described the nature of the race, saying, “It was a bit tactical; other teams were really watching each other. Quickly, I was by myself for Team Canada, so I was trying to watch every move and burning myself little by little,” she said. “On the last lap I saw a Quebec flag up there and was like, ‘OK, now I’m back in it.’ Every lap I would see Canadian flags and just hear my name; it…