Senior Rachel Pageau is one of a school-record six Brevard College student-athletes competing at the Mountain Bike World Championships. Photo Credit: Thom Kennedy
A school-record six Brevard College Cycling student-athletes will represent their home nations at this week’s UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Mountain Bike World Championships held in Val di Sole, Trentino, Italy. BC student-athlete Mazie Hayden will be representing Team USA, while five Tornados – Owen Clark, Tyler Clark, Tyler Orschel, Rachel Pageau and Cole Punchard – will race for Cycling Canada.
“It is incredible to have such strong BC representation at the mountain bike world championships this year,” said Brevard College Head Cycling Coach Brad Perley. “Not only are these students representing their home nations, but also the BC Cycling team and Brevard College. It’s always exciting to support them from afar with this year being a bit sweeter given the lack of racing in the past year and a half. They’ve earned this opportunity and we are very proud of each of them.”
Hayden, a senior from Pittsfield, Vermont, will race in the Women’s Elite Downhill competition for the third consecutive year. A transfer from the University of Vermont, it marks the second straight year that she has made the journey to the world championships as a Brevard College student-athlete. Overall, it marks the fourth trip to the world championships for Hayden as a member of Team USA, including a prior trip as a junior competitor to go along with the three straight elite competitions.
Pageau, a senior from Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada, will also be racing in the Women’s Elite Downhill. It marks her return to the world championships following a trip to the 2019 worlds held in Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada.
Hayden and Pageau combine to mark three straight seasons whereby a Brevard College student-athlete has qualified for the Women’s Elite Downhill. Pageau raced in the 2019 World Championships as a BC student, with Hayden racing in the 2020 worlds where she placed 12th in Elite Women’s Downhill in Leogang, Austria.
Orschel will race in the Elite Men’s Cross Country category at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships as a member of Team Canada. A senior from Uxbridge, Ontario, Orschel will be racing at the worlds for the third consecutive year. In 2020, Orschel finished in 23rd place in Under 23 Cross Country in Leogang, Austria. This season will mark his first appearance in the Elite Men’s Cross Country category.
Brevard College senior Tyler Clark returns to the world championships where he will race for Team Canada in the U23 Men’s Cross Country competition. As a BC freshman, Tyler Clark competed for Canada at the 2018 UCI World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. Tyler Clark, a native of Mono, Ontario, is the reigning Collegiate Men’s Varsity individual Omnium National Champion having won the title at the 2019 USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships in Big Bear Lake, California.
Owen Clark and Cole Punchard, both incoming Brevard College freshmen from Ontario, will compete for Team Canada in the Junior Men’s Cross Country category. Punchard, a native of Huntsville, Ontario, recently won the Swiss Bike Cup race on August 21 in Basel, Switzerland, a key lead-up event to the world championships. Owen Clark also earned a podium finish in Basel, placing fifth at the Swiss Cup race.
2021 will mark the fourth consecutive year that multiple Brevard College Cycling student-athletes have competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. Hayden (USA) and Orschel (Canada) raced in the 2020 world championships in Austria. The year prior in Canada, Orschel and Pageau raced for the host nation in the 2019 worlds. In 2018, Brevard College’s Carson Beckett (USA), Tyler Clark (Canada) and Nathan St. Clair (USA) competed at the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland
The 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships take place August 24-29 at the legendary Italian mountain biking venue of Val di Sole. Following course inspections and training runs, finals in a total of six different formats will begin on Wednesday, August 25.
BC’s Owen Clark and Punchard will race in the Men’s Junior Cross Country Olympic finals on Thursday, August 26 at 13:30 local time (7:30 a.m. ET). On Friday, August 27, Hayden and Pageau will both qualify for the Women’s Elite Downhill competition. Friday’s downhill qualifying begins at 11:45 local time (5:45 a.m. ET).
Action involving Tornado student-athletes continues on Saturday, August 28 beginning with the Men’s Under 23 Cross Country Olympic with BC’s Tyler Clark competing at 10:45 local time (4:45 a.m. ET). Later on Saturday, Orschel will race in the Men’s Elite Cross Country Olympic event scheduled for a 15:45 local time (9:45 a.m. ET) start.
Sunday marks the final day of the world championships with Hayden and Pageau looking to compete in the Women’s Elite Downhill Finals scheduled to begin at 12:50 local time (6:50 a.m. ET).
Following the world championships, the Brevard College Cycling team will open its collegiate season by hosting the Brevard College/Ride Kanuga Mountain Bike Race Weekend on September 4-5. Day one of the event will take place at Ride Kanuga in Hendersonville, North Carolina featuring Cross Country and Downhill competition. Day two of the event features Short Track and Dual Slalom races taking place on the campus of Brevard College.
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2021 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Val di Sole, Trentino, Italy
Events Featuring Brevard College Student-Athletes
Thursday, August 26
13:30 (7:30 a.m. ET): Men’s Junior Cross Country Olympic
Featuring BC’s Owen Clark and Cole Punchard
Friday, August 27
11:45 (5:45 a.m. ET): Women’s Elite Downhill Qualification
Featuring BC’s Mazie Hayden and Rachel Pageau
Saturday, August 28
10:45 (4:45 a.m. ET): Men’s Under 23 Cross Country Olympic
Featuring BC’s Tyler Clark
15:45 (9:45 a.m. ET): Men’s Elite Cross Country Olympic
Featuring BC’s Tyler Orschel
Sunday, August 29
12:50 (6:50 a.m. ET): Women’s Elite Downhill
Featuring BC’s Mazie Hayden and Rachel Pageau