Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 cycling squad completed with mountain bike and BMX athletes
Six more athletes have been nominated to represent Canada across various cycling disciplines at Tokyo 2020.
They join the 17 track and road cyclists who were nominated last July, making the Tokyo 2020 team Canada’s largest Olympic cycling team ever.
The mountain bike team will be led by Rio 2016 bronze medallist Catharine Pendrel, back for her fourth consecutive Olympic Games. A two-time world champion in 2011 and 2014, Pendrel also won three overall World Cup titles in 2010, 2012 and 2016. She’ll be competing in Tokyo as a new mom, having given birth to daughter Dara in January.
“I’m incredibly honoured to represent Canada this summer in Tokyo,” said Pendrel. “The sport has evolved so much since my first Olympic Games in Beijing 13 years ago. The Tokyo course won’t disappoint mountain bike fans and I’m looking forward to lining up against the best in the world again soon.”
She’ll be joined in the women’s cross-country race by Olympic newcomer Haley Smith. Smith won her first World Cup medal at a May 2019 stop in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. She biked to a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Peter Disera will make his Olympic debut in the men’s mountain bike competition. He secured Canada’s only men’s nomination with a career-best sixth place finish at the World Cup in Les Gets, France in 2019.
The men’s cross-country race will take place on July 26 followed by the women’s race on July 27 at the Izu Mountain Bike Course, located 120 km outside of Tokyo.
Mechielsen won her first Canadian BMX racing title in 2019 before making her multi-sport games debut at the Pan Am Games in Lima where she finished seventh. On the World Cup circuit, she has made two career finals (finishing eighth both times) and posted a top-10 finish at the 2021 season opener. Canada last qualified a woman in BMX at Beijing 2008, where the sport was introduced to the Olympic program.
“This has been my dream for as long as I can remember and I could not be more pleased to be named to the Canadian Olympic Team,” said Mechielsen. “My journey through this sport has brought so many highs and lows and I really just want to enjoy the experience as best I can. My goal is to be as prepared as possible and perform to my highest potential.”
Palmer came close to a podium at the Lima 2019 Pan Am Games, where he missed the podium by just 0.6 seconds in the men’s event, finishing fifth. Like Mechielsen, he also won his first Canadian BMX racing title that year.
BMX racing will take place at Ariake Urban Sports Park on July 29 and 30.
Guillaume Boivin has been named as the final member of Canada’s men’s road cycling team. He is currently competing in the Tour de France where he is a support rider for Michael Woods on their pro team. It is expected that he will play a similar role for Woods in the Olympic road race. Boivin has previously represented Canada at the 2011 and 2015 Pan Am Games, winning road race bronze at the latter. He joined the national team in 2010 after winning bronze in the u23 road race at the world championships.
At 234km, the men’s road race will be the longest event of the Olympics. The race will begin in Musashinonomori Park on July 24 and finish at the Fuji International Speedway. The mountainous course features more than 4000m of climbing.
Team Canada Cyclists at Tokyo 2020:
Drew Mechielsen (Langley, BC)
James Palmer (North Vancouver, BC)
Peter Disera (Horseshoe Valley, ON)
Catharine Pendrel (Kamloops, BC)
Haley Smith (Uxbridge, ON)
Guillaume Boivin (Montreal, QC)*
*Joining the previously nominated athletes