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07.31.17
FRUSTRATING DAY FOR CANADA AT BMX WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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ROCK HILL, July 31, 2017 – Team Canada had mixed results at the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA, on Saturday.  Top Canadian performances came from Junior male Benjamin Leslie of Nanaimo, BC, and Elite male James Palmer of North Vancouver, BC, who both made it to the semi-final rounds of their respective categories.

In the Elite men’s competition, Rio Olympian Tory Nyhaug of Coquitlam, BC, won all three of his qualifying heats, as well as his eighth-final race, before crashing out of competition in the quarter-final round.  Palmer made it through to the semi-final round before a crash also stopped him from advancing.  Palmer finished 16th overall.  Alex Tougas of Pitt Meadows, BC, a first year Elite rider, made it as far as the eighth-finals.

“It was a good day,” said Palmer.  “I was finishing top-4 [qualifying for the next round] all day, making it to my first semi-final in Elite men at the world championships, which was very exciting.  In the Semi I put it all on the line in the last turn, but unfortunately slid out.  I’ve had lots of improvement this year, which is all you can ask for.”

Nyhaug, who finished fifth at the Olympics last year, said “I’m happy with how I rode.  I got hit from behind in the Quarter and crashed through no fault of my own.  It’s disappointing; I felt great and I was riding well.  But that’s BMX … it is what it is.”

In the Junior men’s competition, Leslie finished 15th overall after crashing during his semi-final race, while Josh Samells (Milton, ON) did not make it past the quarter-final round.

“I was going pretty good until the Semi,” explained Leslie, “sitting in fourth, but I couldn’t make it stick.”

In the Elite women’s competition, both Drew Mechielsen (Langley, BC) and Daina Tuchscherer (Chestermere, AB) did not advance past the quarter-final round, while Canada’s three Junior women competitors all crashed during qualifying.

“We came into these Worlds well prepared,” said national coach Adam Muys.  “We had solid practice sessions at the event.  The race didn’t start so well with crashes in the Junior women, but we had some good performances throughout today.  The riders rode really well, but we had some mishaps and luck didn’t go our way.  We’ve definitely improved over last year, with James Palmer battling for the Main [final] and Alex Tougas laying down some fast times.  Ben [Leslie] set himself up for a spot in the Final and then just had a little mishap.  I’m happy that the program took steps forward, but a little frustrated with our overall results.”