Maple Ridge cyclist Maggie Coles-Lyster walked away with a victory at the UCI Track Champions League’s international debut Saturday in Spain.
Dubbed the biggest development in track cycling for generations, 72 of the world’s best riders delivered an enthralling first round of wheel-to-wheel racing at the Velodrom Illes Balears in Mallorca.
Among the athletes competing was the 22-year-old from Maple Ridge who rode to victory in the women’s endurance league (scratch).
The race began with an early breakaway from three riders. Coles Lyster wearing the Canadian colours, taking on Olivija Baleisyte of Lithuania) and Hanna Tserakh of Belarus.
According to the league, this trio quickly created a half lap lead from the main bunch in their race.
With two laps to go, this lead reduced, leading to a nail-bitingly close finish.
Fending off the chasing group, Coles-Lyster led the breakaway trio and was first over the line.
“The first four laps went steady and I thought of attacking as there were lots of gaps, but then I found myself in front when Kirsten pulled off,” shared the local pro racing cyclist.
“With three laps to go I saw them charging from behind and wasn’t sure I could hold it as my gear already felt big, suddenly it was 50 metres to go and I knew I had it,” Coles-Lyster said.
” It feels incredible to be one of the first race winners of the UCI Track Champions League – I believed in myself and knew I had it in me, but to actually do it is a whole other thing.”
This from the registered yoga teacher and personal trainer who says she’s fueled by positivity, laughter, and gold medals.
She began racing bikes when she was eight years old, in a discipline called cyclocross. She now specialize in track, where she races for the Canadian National Team, representing UCI Team DNA Pro Cycling.
The Velodrom Illes Balears venue welcomed a packed crowd, half of whom were witnessing track cycling for the first time. The experience treated them to a technology-driven spectacle not seen before in cycling. TV viewers around the world tuned in to watch Coles-Lyster and others race.
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