Two brothers from Pitt Meadows finished first and second at the Canadian BMX championships, which were held over the weekend.
Ryan Tougas topped the podium, and his brother Alex was right beside him, as they finished first and second in the elite men’s class.
Alex has been a longtime member of the national BMX team, and Ryan, the younger of the brothers, was named to Cycling Canada’s 2021 NextGen team from the age of 15. They are both members of the Ridge Meadows BMX club, and on any given day, either can win a race, said Ryan.
“We ride all the time, and it goes back and forth,” he said, noting that earlier in the month Alex beat him at Canada Cup events in St. Albert, and Ryan finished second.
Over 600 riders from all over the country came out for the first Canadian BMX Championships in over two years, which were held in Calgary on Aug. 28. Titles and maple leaf jerseys were awarded in the women’s and men’s categories for junior (17-18) and elite (19 and over) riders.
The men’s elite title was up for grabs with Olympian James Palmer unable to compete due to a training injury. The battle for the title played out between the Tougas brothers, with Ryan ultimately coming out on top to win his first Canadian champion jersey.
They were close heading into the first turn on Saturday’s final, in what Ryan described as one of those make-or-break moment that is hard for their parents to watch.
Alex’s bike went into a slide, and Ryan took a lead he would never relinquish.
“It was exciting to be back racing in front of a crowd after a two-year break,” said Ryan. “It means a lot to me to be the new Canadian champion. I have always looked up to older riders who got the chance to wear the sleeve, so I’m super excited to come out with the win. Thank you to everyone at Calgary BMX who had everything running smoothly this weekend.”
The new Canadian champion would love to get to the world championships, once the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled and travel resumes. The coolest thing, would be if the brothers could go together, he said.
“Alex is a proven athlete, and I believe we have a shot to go to the worlds together,” said Ryan.
Alberta and British Columbia dominated the titles, with each province winning two national champions jerseys, while Quebec was also represented on the podium.
First-year elite competitor Molly Simpson of Red Deer won the women’s field, with Olympian Drew Mechielsen of Langley unable to defend her title due to a foot injury. In the junior category, World Championship silver medallist Teigen Pascual of Squamish, dominated the field to earn her first Junior title.
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