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Silva Leads Day One Qualifiers
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Defending Champion Douglas Silva led the day one qualifiers.  Photo Diego Cardenas

Tarma, Peru - Brazilian Rider Douglas Silva leads the field after the first qualification run of the Copa de los Andes. The first day of qualifying dawned damp and cloudy in Tarma Peru however once riders were ready to start their first qualification run, the changeable conditions had moved in their favor with a dry course appearing out of the clouds.
 
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Dillon Stephens was the quickest skater from outside South America.  Photo Barbara Britvin

All eyes were on the local riders, to see if acclimatization to the altitude would be an issue. However foreign riders showed very strongly, with Dillon Stephens from Canada securing second place and 2011 World Cup Series Champion Patrick Switzer 0.2 sec behind in third place. Switzer held his run to the end of the field in order to help IGSA officials run an efficient session. This put Switzer on the road in comparatively adverse conditions as the temperature fell and the wind rose. Switzer has to be the favorite to qualify in the number one position tomorrow.
 
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Katie Nielson completely dominated the Women's class on the first day of qualifying.  Photo Diego Cardenas

The drama of the day was provided by American Dream, James Kelly, who had a spectacular crash right on the finish line. Getting up unhurt from a mess of straw bales, Kelly ended up crossing the timing beam 3 times in an effort to grab his errant board and secure a legal finishing time on his longboard. Peruvian rider Felipe Malaga, a podium finisher in Bogata two weeks ago, came in at number eight confirming his position as top local contender. Skatie Katie Neilson romped home in first place, a full 12 seconds ahead of second place local rider Maria Isabel Nuñez, despite racing with her back pack on.

Tomorrow will see second round qualification. Mass racing will take place on Sunday.
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