Glasgow BMX Centre will host the first two rounds on 28 and 29 May. The UCI BMX Racing World Cup will be a brilliant warm-up for the first ever UCI Cycling World Championships which will take place in Glasgow and across Scotland in August 2023.
What about the Brits?
Great Britain’s Kyle Evans and Kye Whyte scored a 1-2 at the 2018 European Championships in Glasgow which was the last international race held on the city’s track. Evans has taken on the role of UCI Technical Delegate since then and will be present in Glasgow in that capacity.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist Whyte has made it to the top of the BMX Racing world and will shoot for podiums both days at the Glasgow BMX Centre, where the track surface has been completely replaced, including extensive work on the 8m start ramp. Other British riders Ross Cullen, Paddy Sharrock and Quillan Isidore have all made podiums in 2022 already so a 1-2 finish at one of the two opening rounds for Great Britain is certainly a possibility.
Men Elite: international field
But with 65 entries in Men Elite all focussed on the podium, victories will be hard-fought.
Along with the Brits mentioned above, competition comes from the 2021 UCI World Champion and Olympic gold medallist Niek Kimmann. The Dutchman has been competing intensely already this season, including in the USA at several USABMX races, as has Frenchman Sylvain André. Both European riders have found themselves up against the likes of American Cameron Wood, who recently claimed his second USABMX Pro win.
Other in-form riders are two-time Australian Champion Izaac Kennedy, France’s UCI Pump Track UCI World Champion Eddy Clerté, his fellow Frenchman and European Champion Arthur Pilard, along with 2021 U23 European Champ Cedric Butti (SUI). Missing from the start list is his Swiss compatriot, defending UCI BMX Racing World Cup winner Simon Marquart, who is short of track time after recovering from injury.
Women Elite: Pajón is the target
In the women’s racing, 2021 UCI BMX Racing World Cup winner Mariana Pajón (COL) will take on whoever wants to take the title away from her in 2022. She’s set to show her experience in dealing with fast ladies such as European Champion Zoe Claessens (SUI) and Sae Hatakeyama from Japan, both trainees at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle (Switzerland). The Brits, meanwhile, will cheer on home favourite, Olympic and UCI World Champion Bethany Shriever.
Felicia Stancil (USA) makes a welcome return from injury, and Australia’s Saya Sakakibara, will also be present with the plate #77. Laura Smulders (NED) has clocked up 23 UCI BMX Racing World Cup victories in her career and could make it a smooth 25 this season; whether that happens in Glasgow is up to the competition! Sister Merel will sit out Glasgow to return at Papendal, Netherlands.
The rise of the U23 class
The Under 23 classes have proven to be a success. With 92 Men U23 entries and 29 Women U23 entries it’s clear that the introduction of these categories was the right move. Not having to immediately race against the Elite when entering a UCI World Cup gives the younger riders time to gain experience and get used to the spectacular tracks.
Thalya Burford (SUI), Michelle Wissing (NED), Molly Simpson (CAN) and Aiko Gommers (BEL) will be chasing Denmark’s Malene Sørensen who has made several podiums in 2022 already. And could Kanami Tanno from Japan stir things up at the front of the pack?
At least two major BMX programmes appear to be coming to fruition. Belgium and Italy have run youth programmes for many years and they now seem to benefit from their hard work in the Men U23 class as their athletes are on top of their game and will be looking for podiums throughout the season.
Scotland to set the tone
With 205 riders from 25 nations – 157 men and 48 women – the first two UCI BMX Racing World Cup races in Glasgow will set the tone for the rest of the season. It will be the first outing for the new UCI BMX Racing team – Team Jett from the Netherlands coached by legendary Jelle van Gorkom.
2022 UCI BMX Racing World Cup dates
Rounds 1 and 2 – Glasgow (GBR) – 28-29 May
Rounds 3 and 4 – Papendal (NED) – 11-12 June
Rounds 5 and 6 – Bogotá (COL) – 24-25 September
Rounds 7 and 8 – Bogotá (COL) – 1-2 October