Team USA Claims Two Gold Medals in BMX World Cups
Team USA claimed gold in back-to-back weekend BMX events. On Sunday, May 13, Nick Bruce (Youngstown, Ohio) topped the podium at the UCI BMX Freestyle Park and Flatland World Cup in Montpellier, France. One week prior, on May 6, Alise Willoughby (Chula Vista, Calif.) took home gold at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Papendal, Arnhem, The Netherlands.
“I was super happy to take the win in France,” Bruce said. “Although finals were cancelled, I’m really psyched to have pulled the run I wanted in Semi-Finals and hold the top spot.”
Bruce was in the lead after the semifinals when rain forced the cancellation of the final round of the Montpellier World Cup. He was one of four U.S. riders to finish among the top 20, including Colton Walker (Minneapolis), who ended in eighth, Daniel Sandoval (Mira Loma, Calif.), in 10th, and Justin Dowell (Virginia Beach, Va.) finished 13th.
“It was great to see so many American riders make it to France for the second UCI Freestyle World Cup this year,” said Jamie Staff, USA Cycling’s Performance Director, BMX & Sprint Track. “The event this weekend was FISE’s flagship event, hosted alongside the River Lez in Montpellier – a great location and natural setting for the crowds to gather and create an amazing atmosphere.
“All of the American riders rode great, and Nick Bruce was the weekend’s standout. He charged hard in the semifinal to lay down the best score. We knew there would be a chance of rain on Sunday, therefore the event was rained out and results from the semifinal stood as the final result. We had discussed the probability of this happening prior to Nick’s run, and we’re happy it paid off.”
Watch Nick Bruce’s first semifinal run HERE.
Three U.S. women also finished among the top 10 in Montpellier. Hannah Roberts (Buchanan, Mich.) ended in fourth place, Angie Marino (Phoenix) was seventh and Nina Buitrago (Austin, Texas) ninth.
The World Cup in Montpellier was the second of five stops on the schedule this year leading up to the UCI BMX Freestyle World Championships this November in Chengdu, China. The weekend event was also part of the FISE World Series, an international, multidisciplinary action sports festival. BMX Freestyle Park will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, becoming first Olympic BMX Freestyle discipline on the program. The event will also be on the 2018 Youth Olympic Games program this summer in Buenos Aires.
Willoughby’s race in Papendal was her first Supercross World Cup of the season, and the reigning World Champion picked up where she left off with a gold medal in Round 4. She also claimed second in Round 3 of the World Cup the previous day. Other Team USA riders finishing among the top 20 included Mika Shaw (Bailey, Colo.), who was 14th in Round 4, and Dani George (Palmdale, Calif.) ended Round 3 in 18th. On the men’s side, and Corben Sharrah (Tucson, Ariz.) finished fifth in Round 4 of the Papendal World Cup.
“Alise showed that she’s still at the top of her game,” said Staff. “She was a little nervous in the first rounds as she hadn’t raced with these girls since last year. Once she blew the cobwebs off, she came into her own and looked like herself. She was very consistent throughout the weekend and finished strong. She now heads home to focus on training for Worlds and retaining her title in Baku in June.”
The World Cup in Papendal helped set the stage for the 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Championships one month later. The World Championships will be held June 5-9 in Baku, Azerbaijan. For complete results from the Supercross World Cups, click HERE.