Corben Sharrah won the gold medal and 2012 Olympian Connor Fields claimed the silver on Saturday in the first stop of the 2016 BMX Supercross World Cup in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
It was the first victory for Sharrah since he won gold in the opening event of the 2011 world cup circuit, held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. With the win, Sharrah served notice that he has recovered from the broken right femur he suffered at the 2011 world championships. Despite a determined rehabilitation regimen, that injury caused him to miss a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. Based on the result in Argentina, he is rounding into form at the right time for a run at a starting spot in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
“It’s still a little hard to believe right now,” an obviously relieved Sharrah said in a post-race interview. “I’ve prayed a lot for this day and I’ve worked hard since I broke my femur. I just never could seem to get back to form and make the final. It’s a really big win for me. It took a lot of belief to get this done.”
Fields, the 2013 BMX world champion, had the preferred inside line out of the starting gate for the final, but Sharrah was able to surge out of the fourth starting slot to jump ahead of the pack and lead the final wire to wire. It was Fields’ second career world cup silver medal, added to the three golds and two bronze medals he’s collected on the circuit. Another U.S. Olympian, Nic Long, also reached the final and placed seventh.
In the women’s competition, 2012 Olympians Brooke Crain and Alise Post advanced to the finals but finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
The riders now turn their attention to the second stop on the world cup circuit, April 9-10 in Manchester, Great Britain. After a stop in Papendal, Netherlands, May 7-8, the tour concludes with two events in the United States, Sept. 24-25 in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Oct. 8-9 in Sarasota, Florida.