Explosive UCI BMX Racing World Cup action from Papendal

In sunny conditions, rounds 3 and 4 of the 2022 UCI BMX Racing World Cup were held at Papendal, Netherlands across the weekend of 11 and 12 June. The city of Arnhem hosted the race at the Olympic training centre for the 10th time.

Men Elite: Frenchmen fly

For Saturday’s round 3, local favourite Niek Kimmann had opted out of racing his home UCI World Cup to take a break in his busy racing schedule. For the final, the gate was filled with five French riders, a Brit, an Aussie and a Colombian.

From the moment the gate dropped French riders Eddy Clerté and Jeremy Rencurel took a slight lead coming down the 8-metre hill but in turn one their countrymen Romain Mahieu and Sylvain André were battling for the lead. Mahieu had taken Niek Kimman’s favourite starting position (lane 8) to enter the first turn from the outside, but André used lane 1 on the inside and was not going to let Mahieu come out of the turn in the lead. Mahieu unclipped and ended up in the air fencing, giving the holeshot to André. Kye Whyte (GBR) was hit by the Frenchman’s bike and left the track.

With six athletes on the smooth BMX circuit team, France was in position 1 and 2 (Rencurel had moved into 2nd) followed by Izaac Kennedy from Australia who was looking fast all day. The ‘Little Magician’ Carlos Ramírez could not make a pass for the podium and finished in a solid 4th position.

After a disappointing final on Saturday, Romain Mahieu put things right in Round 4 the following day with not just a victory but also the fastest lap time of the weekend. Cam Wood set the American camp on fire with 2nd place while smooth operator Carlos Ramírez managed to get onto the podium in 3rd place.

Women Elite: Classy Claessens

After 25 UCI World Cup wins Laura Smulders (NED) can be considered a favourite every time the gate drops. On Saturday however, UCI World Cycling Centre trainee Zoe Claessens (SUI) had a better start and a stronger first straight to close the door on Laura in turn one. Merel Smulders (NED), Felicia Stancil (USA) and Lauren Reynolds (AUS) carved the first turn side by side closely followed by Judy Baauw (NED).

From that point forward several positions changed but out front it stayed the same. Zoe Claessens held off an attack by Laura Smulders, and Stancil finished on the UCI World Cup podium for the first time since her injury earlier in the year.

The following day, Zoe Claessens again led from start to finish, with Laura Smulders taking her second 2nd place at her home UC World Cup.

UCI World Champion Bethany Shriever finished third place for Great Britain and also scored the yellow plate for setting the fastest time on the Papendal track over the weekend.

Under 23: Stacked classes

It was a 1-2 finish for France in Saturday’s Men U23 racing which had 119 entries from 26 countries at Papendal. Leo Garoyan claimed the top step followed by Dylan Gobert and Denmark’s Magnus Dyhre.

The following day, four Frenchman were on the gate, and they took the top four places. Leo Garoyan set the fastest lap time in the U23 class and won his second race of the weekend. Consider him the man to beat moving forward.

In the Women U23 racing, 2021 UCI World Cup winner Thalya Burford from Switzerland won on Saturday, followed by Malene Sørensen (DEN) and Molly Simpson (CAN). The three women were on the podium again in round 4 but in a different order: Simpson 1st, Burford 2nd and Sørensen 3rd.