Racing in their national colors, Rally Cycling’s Jasmin Glaesser and Kirsti Lay helped the Canadian Women’s Team Pursuit squad win bronze at the Rio Olympics. One of the pre-race favorites, the Canadian team was comprised of Glaesser, Lay, Allison Beveridge, and Georgia Simmerling. The quartet powered past New Zealand in the bronze medal round to grab the final podium spot, and along the way, set a new Canadian record. It is the first Olympic medal for Lay and the second for Glaesser, who was part of Canada’s bronze medal Team Pursuit squad at the 2012 London Olympics.
“It was a great ride. Four years ago, it was a little bit of a surprise, but this time around [a medal] was our goal and focus, and this is the result of four years of hard work,” said Glaesser. “To put it together on the day, when it matters, is an incredible feeling. Qualifying was a disappointment because we knew we had a lot more, but every ride since then we’ve taken seconds off of our time, including setting two national records today. the ride this evening was really incredible, and it felt like every one of us left it all out there and didn’t hold back. You can’t ask for more than that when you are riding at the Olympics.”
In Canada’s first round matchup they faced a powerful squad from Great Britain. Canada qualified for the medal rounds with the fourth fastest time earlier in the week with Laura Brown, the fifth member of the team, helping the squad post a time of 4:19.59. Lay slotted in for Brown on Saturday, and though the team fell short of beating Great Britain, they set the third fastest time of 4:14:636, a new Canadian record.
Having lost to Great Britain, yet posting the third fastest time, the team faced New Zealand in the bronze medal round with Great Britain and the USA squaring off for the gold medal. In the race for bronze, Canada took an early lead with New Zealand pulling back time in the second half of the event. Both teams were down to just three riders in the final kilometer with Canada holding at 3-second advantage at the line. The team’s time was 4:14:627, topping the Canadian record they had set earlier in the day.
“We switched a few things up from the first day, but mostly we stuck to what we knew and I think that’s what got us faster,” said Lay. “We stayed with our game plan and went back to the basics. You tell yourself it’s another bike race, but there’s a lot more emotions on that start line. But we tried to stick to what we knew, and be calm and focus on the process, and then the outcome would be there.”
In the gold medal round, Team USA went out fast and took the early lead, but at the midway mark of 4-kilometers, Great Britain pulled ahead. As Team USA dropped a rider, Great Britain kept its squad intact for two more laps and powered to the gold in a world record time of 4:10.236.
Everyone at Rally Cycling is proud to see Glaesser and Lay achieve their Olympic dreams and look forward to having them back on the road.