"The Parapan Am Games is always a great opportunity to gauge where we are from an international competitiveness standpoint.''
Cycling Canada has announced the 16 para-cyclists selected for nomination to represent Canada at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
Canadian riders at the Parapan American Games will be able to earn valuable points towards qualifying for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
The team features Robbi Weldon, Shelley Gautier, Marie-Ève Croteau, Marie-Claude Molnar, and Daniel Chalifour, who all competed at both the last Parapan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011 and the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Alexandre Cloutier, Mark Ledo, and Robert Labbé were in London while Louis-Albert Jolin-Corriveau, was in Guadalajara.
"The Parapan Am Games is always a great opportunity to gauge where we are from an international competitiveness standpoint,'' said Jacques Landry, Cycling Canada's High Performance Director and Head Coach. ''It's an even better opportunity do so in front of our home crowd. We hope that the processes we plan to use to win medals at the Parapanam Games will be successful and also bring success to Canadian para-cycling at the 2016 Paralympic Games."
Weldon, a visually impaired racer, won four gold medals at the 2011 Parapan Ams and the road race crown in London, all with now retired pilot Lyne Bessette. The pilots on the para-cycling team for Toronto are Audrey Lemieux, Joanie Caron, and Cloutier.
"With 16 athletes this is one of our bigger teams at the Parapan Am Games," said Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young. "It's nice to see the return of several veterans and emergence of some newcomers as well."
A couple of newcomers to watch for are Ross Wilson, Michael Sametz, former triathlete Charles Moreau, and Nicole Clermont.
"The announcement of the Canadian Para-Cycling Team means we are one step closer to the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. Congratulations to the athletes named to the team who will proudly wear the maple leaf as they compete in Toronto during the Year of Sport in Canada. We are very proud that the track cycling events will be hosted at the new Cisco Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome, one of the three legacy facilities of the Games, which will provide a place for Canadian cyclists to train for years to come,'' said the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport)
Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games tickets are currently on sale. The Parapan para-cycling competition will take place at the CISCO Milton Pan Am/Parapan Am Velodrome for the track and the Ontario Place West Channel for the road. Tickets are available online at Toronto 2015 website.
With a goal of finishing in the top three nations in the total medal count, Canada is expected to send approximately 220 athletes to the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games from 7 to 15 August Qualification is ongoing and the full team will be officially announced in July 2015.
Team Canada para-cycling - Toronto2015 Parapan American Games
Athlete bios available at Canadian Paralympic Committee website.
Louis-Albert Jolin Corriveau, Ste-Claire, Que.
Daniel Chalifour, Mont-Laurier, Que.,
Alexandre Cloutier, St-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que. (guide)
Ross Wilson, Edmonton
Michael Sametz, Calgary
Charles Moreau, Trois-Rivières, Que.
Mark Ledo, Maple, Ont.
Robert Labbé, Quebec City
Shelley Gautier, Toronto
Marie-Ève Croteau, Quebec City
Marie-Claude Molnar, St-Hubert, Que.
Nicole Clermont, Sherbrooke, Que.
Robbi Weldon, Thunder Bay, Ont.
Joanie Caron, Rimouski, Que. (guide)
Shawna Ryan, Saskatoon
Audrey Lemieux, Montreal (guide)
Coaches: Eric Van den Eynde, Longueuil, Que., and Sébastien Travers, Bromont, Que.
Team manager: Arnaud Litou, Gatineau, Que.