The rising star of Australian cycling has claimed gold in stunning fashion to set her on track toward the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Maeve Plouffe has claimed Australia’s second gold medal at the 2022 UCI Track Nations Cup in Milton, Canada, comfortably winning the women’s individual pursuit.
The Australian Cycling Team star led from start to finish in the 3000m individual pursuit gold medal final against Italian Vittoria Bussi and stopped the clock at 3:29.324 to Bussi’s 3:32.210.
The victory will come as a major confidence booster to the South Australian ahead of a European block of road racing with ARA Pro Racing Sunshine Coast and a probable Commonwealth Games selection for Birmingham 2022 after battling lingering side effects of a concussion suffered in March.
“I wasn’t really sure where my form was at, I just knew I had to ride a strong, smooth race,” Plouffe said.
“For me, it was such an exciting race, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to pan out because my competitors were so strong out there.
“You have to be consistent at these competitions and we had a huge three rounds in the team pursuit yesterday and had to back up today with qualifying and a final.
“So, it was definitely challenging but I’m so excited to be back racing and I’ve definitely missed it.”
Plouffe, a dual citizen of Australia and Canada, was buoyed by the support of her Canadian family in Milton.
“I have my Canadian family in the crowd up there which really helped me bring it home,” Plouffe said.
“We now have the Commonwealth Games in a few months and then the Track World Championships so we’re going to get the form back for that and hopefully bring that time down.”
Australian Cycling Team newcomer Amber Pate continued her impressive overseas debut in the same event as Plouffe, finishing fourth following her bronze medal final defeat versus Italian Silvia Zanardi.
In other results, Alyssa Polites finished seventh in the women’s elimination, while Graeme Frislie finished 13th in the men’s elimination.
Tasmanian Josh Duffy ended the men’s scratch race in ninth, with Sophie Edwards finishing 10th in the women’s equivalent.
Australian Cycling Team sprinter Kristina Clonan qualified 15th in the women’s sprint, and after winning her 1/16 heat was eliminated in the 1/8 round against German Emma Hinze, the back-to-back sprint world champion.