May 09, 2017 (Papendal, Netherlands) – Canadian BMX riders had a strong start to the 2017 season with a silver medal for Tory Nyhaug of Coquitlam, BC, in the opening rounds of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup on Sunday, in Papendal, Netherlands.
“We have done some significant work post Rio in analyzing our current international performers and also looking to the future with our newly developed NextGen program,” said Adam Muys, BMX NextGen Coach – West. “Although we have some 2020 standouts including Tory Nyhaug, James Palmer, Daina Tuchscherer and Drew Mechielson, we also have some of the top U23 and Juniors on the planet. The next 4-6 years are very exciting for the program as we are very fortunate to have 2 world class tracks to train on (Abbotsford, BC and Toronto, ON); this is a huge game changer for us.”
Brendan Arnold, the newly hired BMX NextGen Coach, added “Success takes time, it takes a team of quality people to help athletes attain performance at the world-class level. I believe we have started a process of creating future pathway performance through our National Performance program and the newly created NextGen development program. Of course World Cups, World Championships and Olympics are the key targets, but we as coaches need to help our athletes learn to win at earlier stages of their development so that they can acquire the skills to compete at the international level.”
The BMX World Cups have introduced a new format, with two events held on consecutive days in one location. Nyhaug, the 2015 Pan Am Games Champion who finished fifth at the Rio Olympics, made the Final in both races, finishing sixth on Saturday and then second on Sunday, behind world champion Joris Daudet of France. Alex Tougas of Pitt Meadows, BC, made the quarter-finals on both days, finishing 26th on Saturday and 30th on Sunday.
“It was an exhausting weekend,” said Nyhaug. “I kept things simple and I didn’t just get on the podium, but was able to battle at the front, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
In the women’s competition, Drew Mechielsen of Langley, BC, came back from 41st on Saturday to finishing 14th on Sunday, making her first semi-final at the World Cup level.
“It was a slow process and took me a while to get into gear,” admitted Mechielsen, “but I was able to pull it together and make the semi-finals, which I’m really happy about.”
The BMX athletes are now headed to Zolder, in Belgium, where they will race in World Cups 3 and 4 over the weekend.