Saturday, November 17, 2007 - Canadian Athletes
Canada's Next Great Crossover Athlete

Earlier this summer, we brought you an article on Tara Whitten and her recent exploits into the world of competitive track cycling.  Whitten, already one of the most accomplished female ski racers in the country, dazzled at the 2007 Canadian National Track Cycling Championships and returned home having earned three national medals, two of them silver and one of them gold. 

When asked to comment post-nationals regarding her 2008 Olympic prospects, Whitten put forward that regardless of her results, she didnít feel as though the Beijing Olympics were a realistic goal, given that the qualification period had already begun and that she still had so much to learn within the sport.  She offered a sensible approach, stating that 2008 was too soon, and that she would only be 32 and in the prime of a cyclists racing career for the 2012 Olympic games in London.

However, Whitten, who three months ago was just hoping to make the Alberta provincial team to go to Nationals, has now qualified to represent Canada at two stops of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.  The Edmonton native will depart Canada for Sydney on November 23rd, there she'll prepare for events taking place November 30th through December 2nd.  After Australia, Whitten will head to Beijing to race the next World Cup stop the following weekend. 

Unsure of what to expect at the World Cup level and cautious in making any predictions, Whitten simply suggests that she will depart Canada as well-prepared as possible and will race as hard as she can overseas.  Upon her return she'll be better able to evaluate where she's at and where she needs to go, as well as whether Beijing is a possibility or whether London should be her focus.

Unfortunately, due to international track cycling being mainly a winter sport, the University of Alberta Neuroscience student is uncertain regarding which ski races she may be able to attend this season.  Nevertheless, she remains optimistic that she'll be able to don a cross-country bib at least a few times this winter.    


    National Championships Podium (L to R, Tara Whitten, Lyne Bessette, Julia Bradley)

photo: Don Ricker




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