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Cycling trio to Nationals

 Three U17 cyclists at track Nationals


   Eve Buczkowski, Alex Fangeat, Brody Mann, all from St. Thomas

   at the Canadian track cycling championships this weekend in Quebec 


  March 31, 2023


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By Rob J. Ross

ST. THOMAS - Three cyclists from St. Thomas are at the National level representing their province.

Brody Mann, Eve Buczkowski and Alex Fangeat, are with Team Ontario, at the Cycling Canada's Canadian U17 track championships starting today to Sunday, at the Velodrome, in Bromont, Quebec, south of Montreal.

Mann is part of Ontario's men's pursuit team, with Antoine Bergeron, Jake McLean, and Maxim Wojciechowski.

"I'm really excited to race there. I'm happy to make Team Ontario," Mann said. "I've been racing against the guys who I'll be racing against at Nationals pretty much all season. I have a good understanding of how they race. I'm hoping to come away with a couple of medals and maybe a title if I can do it."

The Grade 10 student at Central Elgin Collegiate Institute (CECI) has been cycling for five years, first with road races.

"I started with road and kind of made my way into track," said Mann, who rides with Attack Racing out of London. "My dad has been a cyclist for a long time. I did a couple of youth races and I saw Attack Racing at the events, one of the road Youth Cups, a race around the outside of the Velodrome in Milton. That just set everything in motion."

The scratch race has become Mann's favourite.

"You go out with everyone and it's first across the line on the last lap wins," Mann says of the 7.5-kilometer race for his age division. "The team pursuits are a lot of fun."

Strategy is key in a race.

"There's a lot of different strategies. You can take a flyer, which is basically attack the group and try to lap the field. There's you sit in the group and wait until two or three laps to go and then you make a move. There are so many different strategies you can use in these races. It's makes it a lot of fun. Just waiting for it to happen is always the anticipation part of it.

Mann adds a rider has to be ready to react instantly to an opponent's move.

"You always have to be paying attention," Mann stresses. "I always keep an eye out because one second they're there and one second they're gone off of the front and you've just lost the race."

Mann has a bit of experience at the National level, having been a guest rider with team Alberta in 2022, his first year in U17. The Alberta team was short one ride for team pursuit and asked Mann.

In January, Mann had three top six finishes at Bromont, including a silver, so the 15-year old, who turns 16 this year, is familiar with the track.

At the 2023 provincial championships in Milton in early March, Mann took silver in both the U17 men's pursuit final and scratch race and a bronze in both the tempo and elimination races.

"It's been a long season. It's a really good way to end it (at Nationals)," said Mann. "I'm really happy with how I did in my racing. Plenty of podiums and plenty of personal bests. I felt tons of improvement over the track season."

The outdoor season begins in May.

Buczkowski and Fangeat are both on the women's pursuit team and sprint team.

"It's very exciting and I feel honoured to have the opportunity to represent my entire province. It will be my first time at Nationals," said Buczkowski. "Since it's my first Nationals I'm just expecting to have fun and gain experience riding and racing with girls my age."

At provincials, Buczkowski took gold in the U17 500-meter time trial and keirin and silver in the pursuit final and points race.

"I feel like my season has gone very well. I've improved lots during this season compared to last season, giving me more opportunities this season to further improve my skills in racing and riding in general."

A Grade nine student at CECI, Buczkowski rides with Attack Racing.

"I've been biking since 2017. My dad (Andrew) got me into the sport. We would go on road rides in the summer and when winter rolled around he mentioned that the Forest City Velodrome offered track cycling for youth (Velokids) so that's when I also started to do track cycling."

Buczkowski's favourite race is the elimination, where the last rider to cross the line after a bell lap gets eliminated.

Fangeat won the U17 women's points race, tempo race, scratch race and pursuit final, at the 2023 provincials.

"That weekend I was sick so I definitely feel I could have preformed better. I still am proud of my results though," Fangeat said. "It's pretty cool to be part of Team Ontario. This will be my second Nationals. I raced last year's Nats as an upgraded racer."

The 14-year old Fangeat attends St. Joseph's high school and rides with K-W Academy Racing, out of Waterloo.





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