BLOG: Pan Am Games track cycling through the eyes of Jamie Staff


An inside look into the U.S. team's track cycling performance at the Pan Am Games from USA Cycling Sprint Program Director Jamie Staff. Read more first-hand accounts on our Blogs Page.
Day 1
An Olympic gold medalist in the team sprint for U.S. rival Great Britain, Jamie Staff took over as USA Cycling's Sprint Program Director in 2010.
An Olympic gold medalist in the team sprint for U.S. rival Great Britain, Jamie Staff took over as USA Cycling's Sprint Program Director in 2010.

Men’s Team Sprint: Dean Tracy, Michael Blatchford and Jimmy Watkins.
Qualified 2nd to Venezuela in the qualifying round and posted a new, unofficial USA Team Sprint record of 44.227.
In the final both Venezuela and the USA improved significantly with both teams again smashing the Pan Am Games record posting 43.188 and 44.036 respectively. Although disappointed not to win, the boys were happy with the performance and their ability to keep smashing records every time they ride.
Overall Results
1. Venezuela                   43.188 PR
2. United States            44.036
3. Colombia                     45.080
4. Argentina                     46.725
Women’s Team Sprint: Elizabeth Carlson and Maddie Godby.
Qualified 4th behind Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico in the qualifying round with a time of 34.788. Both girls posting personal records in their respective laps.
The girls rode against Mexico in the 3-4th final. The Mexican crowd was so much behind their riders that the race had to be re-started because of a false start from Maddie due to the fact that she couldn’t hear the starting beeps through the noise of the crowd.  Both Elizabeth and Maddie were happy with their ride.
Women’s Team Sprint Results
Venezuela                          33.611   PR
Colombia                             34.049
Mexico                                 34.617
United States                    34.993
Day 2
Women’s Sprint
Dana Feiss was the only US rider entered for the women’s Sprint and qualified in 7th position with a new personal best time of 11.503. Dana went on to ride the second fastest qualifier before facing Lisandra Guerra. She put up a good fight but lost in two rides.
Dana proceeded to ride the 5th through 8th final where she came 2nd behind Luz Daniela Gaxiola from Mexico placing her 6th overall in the competition.
Overall Results
1. Daniela Larreal             VEN
2. Lisandra Guerra         CUB
3Diana Maria Garcia    COL
4. Juliana Gaviria             COL
5. Daniela Luz Gaxiola   MEX
6. Dana Feiss                     USA
Men’s Match Sprint
Michael Blatchford and Jimmy Watkins were entered into the Match Sprint event.
Jimmy Watkins posted a time of 10.092 in the Flying 200 to place him 5th seed and Michael Blatchford posted a time of 9.983 and qualified 2nd fastest behind Njisane Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago with a 9.977. Interesting enough, the top 9 guys surpassed the old Pan Am F200 record set by Marty Northstein in 1999 which was 10.304.
In the first round Jimmy beat Flavio Cipriano from Brazil to go through to the quarter finals. Michael missed judged his ride and lost to Elias Horta from Mexico, but was able to win the repechage against Jonathan Gatto from Argentina and the rider Jimmy had beaten, Flavio Cipriano from Brazil.
In the quarter final Jimmy went up against Gadiel Canelon from Venezuela who he’s met several times in competition, but after 3 competitive rides from both riders Canelon ended up taking the win 2-1.

Michael met the fastest qualifier Njisane Phillip from Trinidad in the quarter final. After 3 close rides and one crash from Michael, Njisane ended up taking the win and heading to the semi final. Michael was to join Jimmy in the 5 through 8th final.
The 5th to 8th final was pretty straight forward. One rider Jonathan Marin from Columbia suffered a bad crash in the ¼ final and so wasn’t able to ride the minor final. Joining Michael and Jimmy was 8th fastest qualifier Flavio Cipriano from Brazil. Michael took the lead initially then gave the lead up to Jimmy; Jimmy was then able to raise the speed enough to make it impossible for Flavio or Michael to challenge for the win. Michael, still a little shaken from his fall the day before, settled for 3rd in the race, leaving him 7th overall.
Final Sprint Results
1. Gadiel Canelon            VEN
2. Hernando Puerta      COL
3. Njisane Phillip             TRI
4. Angel Pulgar                 VEN
5. Jimmy Watkins            USA
6. Flavio Cipriano             BRA
7th Michael Blatchford   USA

Day 4

Women’s Keirin
The women’s Keirin started of interestingly as a battle between Guerra and Gaxiola for a position behind the motorbike saw Guerra fall and therefore out of the race.
Dana Feiss eager to race rode a very tactically astute race by hugging the inside line with a lap to go and in doing so, found herself on the podium with an awesome ride finishing in 3rd. This will be a huge boost of confidence for Dana as she heads into the World Cup season with high hopes of making the Olympic squad next year.
Women’s Final Keirin Results
1. Daniela Larreal VEN
2. Daniela Gaxiola MEX
3. Dana Feiss USA
4. Sumaia Ribeiro BRA
5. Deborah Coronel ARG
6. Maria Garcia COL
7. Lisandra Guerra CUB
Men’s Keirin
With a relatively low turnout due to the qualifying procedure, the women only had one heat which would mean a straight final and the men only 2 heats of 4.
For the men we had Jimmy Watkins. Taking the top two straight to the final, Jimmy won the qualifying heat with Hernando Puerta from Columbia coming in 2nd. The other heat saw Gadiel Canelon form Venezuela and Leandro Botasso from Argentina make it straight through to the final also. The repechage allowed Alejandro Mainat from Cuba and Falvio Cipriano from Brazil join them.
The men’s final was going to be decided by one of the favorites, but which one? Canelon, having very successful games thus far, look like one of the favorites, but we couldn’t count out Jimmy who was looking to produce a strong finish as well as Puerta who had also had a good games thus far.
Botasso the Argentinean and second place finisher in the 2nd heat took the early lead with Puerta, Watkins and Canelon playing the patient game. Puerta then made the next challenge for the lead with Watkins and Canelon in tow. Watkins gaining some good speed got stuck on the outside of a wheel whilst Canelon made a last ditch effort on the inside going for the win. An exciting finish saw Puerta take the win for Columbia, Canelon take silver for Venezuela and Botasso from Argentina just able to hold Watkins off for the Bronze.
Men’s Final Keirin Results
1. Hernando Puerta COL
2. Gadiel Canelon  VEN
3. Leandro Botasso ARG
4. Jimmy Watkins USA
5. Javier Mansilla CHI
6. Flavio Cipriano BRA

-Jamie Staff

Read more first-hand accounts on our blogs page.

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This Article Updated March 5, 2012 @ 02:22 PM For more information contact: