RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Dan Chalifour knew translating last year’s Parapan Am successes into Paralympic medals would be a big challenge.
The 44-year-old from Ste-Jerome, Que. and his pilot, 29-year-old Jean-Michel Lachance of Quebec City gave it their best effort but finished ninth in the Men’s B-class 3000m individual pursuit qualifiers on Thursday morning.
“Going from the Parapan Ams to Paralympics will be like going from the American Hockey League to the National Hockey League,” Chalifour said, following a training session earlier this week at the Velodrome.
“At the Parapan Ams, the European teams and the Australians aren’t there, so here … you have to have your A Game.”
In the end, the Europeans and Australians were the dominant racers.
Great Britain’s Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby set a new world record in the final heat of the day with a time of 4:08.106, advancing to the Thursday night gold medal final to face Vincent ter Schure and Timo Fransen of the Netherlands.
Their Dutch teammates Stephen de Vries and Patrick Bos will take on Ignacio Avila and Joan Font of Spain for the bronze. Avila and Font were in the same heat as the Canadians and were able to pass them during the event.
The Canadian pair were disappointed with the end result. After a third place finish at the World Championships in Montichiari, Italy earlier this year, they thought the medal was in their grasp.
“We needed to run laps of 15.3 seconds and we did our first kilo at that speed,” Lachance said, after the heat. “After that, with the legs we have, the pace was a bit too fast for us in the end.”
“We paid the price because at the start we really wanted to be in the medals,” Chalifour, the three-time Paralympian added. “So we put it all on the line. We started well but it was too fast.”
The pair will have to look ahead to the road races next week for another chance to earn a medal in Brazil.
“For me, it takes a little bit of pressure off our shoulders,” Lachance said. “We really hoping to have a strong performance today, so the next days we will try to enjoy it and hopefully we can perform well.”