UCI BMX Racing World Cup: André and Smulders leave Scotland with the red leader plates

The first two rounds of the 2022 UCI BMX Racing World Cup in Glasgow, Scotland (Great Britain) saw two Elite race wins for Laura Smulders (NED) to give the Women’s 2018 UCI World Champion the overall lead.

There was one win each for Diego Arboleda (COL) and Jérémy Rencurel (FRA), while two 2nd place finishes for Sylvain André (FRA) means that the Men’s 2018 UCI World Champion takes the overall series lead into Round 3.

The Glasgow BMX Centre was the place where the world’s best Under 23 riders and Elite riders gathered to see if their winter preparation had gone to plan. Glasgow, a new location on the UCI World Cup circuit, welcomed the athletes, staff and crowd for tight racing on the well-groomed track which will also be used for the BMX Racing competitions at next year’s inaugural UCI Cycling World Championships being held in Glasgow and across Scotland.

New on the agenda were the yellow (Elite) and green (U23) number plates for setting the fastest time on the track, just one more challenge for the riders to prove who is indeed the fastest out there setting track records. Still, the red (Elite) and black (U23) leader plates are what the racers wanted to have on their bikes at the end of the road.

After a rocky training day on Friday because of the weather conditions, things looked better when the gate dropped for the first UCI World Cup of the 2022 season on a cloudy, cool day.

Under 23: a truly global affair

In the Men U23r ound 1, France dominated the finals with the five riders staying on their bikes all being French. It was Dylan Gobert who used lane 1 to his advantage and held off the French train behind him to claim victory.

In the Women U23 round 1 final it was a race to the finish line between Malene Sørensen (DEN) and Molly Simpson (CAN) that had the crowd on their feet. The Danish rider took the win.

Into round 2 on Sunday, and it was the Women U23 2021 UCI BMX Racing World Cup winner Thalya Burford, from Switzerland, who won. New Zealand’s Rico Bearman made it happen in the U23 Men category, showing fast BMX athletes come from all over the world including Colombia, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Denmark.

The fastest laps went to Malene Sørensen and Dylan Gobert (FRA).

Women Elite: Smulders powerplay

In the Round 1 Women Elite finals, Laura Smulders (NED) grabbed the holeshot – with UCI World Cycling Centre trainee Zoe Claessens (SUI) in tow – to claim UCI World Cup race win number 24 on Saturday, along with the new yellow plate for the fastest lap time. The Dutch woman said: “I know this track suits me. It's very technical, and it felt great. You have to be precise, and I think I'm a pretty precise person, that's always my goal. So I'm very satisfied with that.”

Claessens held on for second with the Netherlands’ Judy Baauw in third.

The second round the following day provided an opportunity for Laura Smulders to take her 25th UCI World Cup win. She pulled it off, but had to work hard for it, needing to find a place on the track to pass Olympic Champion Bethany Shriever (GBR).

"Racing these last couple of years with all the young girls coming up, it's getting harder and harder to get those wins,” said Smulders. “I'm happy to have got into Beth's wheel on the second straight and hunt her down. And on the last straight I don't know how close it was but it was a very cool race. It was great racing out here, it was so technical and I love that stuff. Thanks, Glasgow, for cheering Beth on and it made me better getting the cheers too."

Australian Saya Sakakibara came in third behind Smulders and Shriever.

Men Elite: wins for Arboleda & Rencurel

In round 1, Frenchman Sylvain André and Great Britain’s Kye Whyte did not have the best of snaps out of the gate, leaving the door open for Diego Arboleda to lead from start to finish and take victory. The Colombian also clocked the fastest lap time of the event.

Arboleda was ecstatic after the win: "I did a lot of work this off season, I feel strong. Today was a good day and this was a fantastic start (to my season). Let's keep going the same."

Both André and Whyte passed riders on the track to claim podium spots in 2nd for the Frenchman and 3rd for British favourite Whyte.

Round 2 victory went to a French rider, but it wasn’t André: instead Jeremy Rencurel claimed his first UCI World Cup victory.

“It's so good to be back after two [bad] years with Covid, I'm really happy to take the win, first win in my career in the World Cup,” said Rencurel. “We're all friends, it's a good feeling to share it with Sylvain."

André took his second podium of the weekend and left for Papendal, Netherlands, with the red leader plate on his bike. Third on Sunday’s Round 2 was Australia’s Izaac Kennedy.

Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2022 UCI BMX Racing World Cup will take place in Papendal, Netherlands on 11 and 12 June.