During the weekend, Santiago Del Estero (Argentina) hosted the UCI BMX Racing World Cup for the eight time. Romain Mahieu won round 7 and 8 in the Men Elite, while Bethany Schriever (GBR) won the Women Elite on the Saturday and Saya Sakakibara (AUS) on the Sunday.
The track at the Santiago del Estero Sports Centre in Argentina stands host for the final four rounds of the 2023 UCI BMX Racing World Cup, with 39 women and 77 men in the Elite races and 31 women and 64 men in the U23 categories. The strong line-up demonstrates the importance of these competitions at a time when Olympic qualifying is in full swing and the pressure is on.
Mahieu and Schriever take home round 7
On the Saturday, round 7 of the UCI BMX Racing World Cup was raced in the heat (32°C). Two surprises in the qualification rounds for the Men Elite with early eliminations of both Sylvain André (FRA) and Niek Kimmann (NED).
In the Men Elite final, Romain Mahieu didn’t have the quickest start, but the first couple of corners enabled him to climb from fourth to first place. Missing the first jump, he still had generated enough speed on the first straight to stay in the lead. Mahieu’s victory seemed to be clear, but with compatriot Joris Daudet behind him there was no room for mistakes. He finally won by only 0.008 seconds! The Argentinean crowd got on their feet to see Nicolas Torres (ARG) take third place.
The Women Elite final saw another battle between Saya Sakakibara (AUS) and reigning UCI World Champion Bethany Shriever (GBR). The two athletes put up a spectacular battle right until the end. The race was decided by the millimetre, as the stopwatch showed 32.403 seconds for the British rider against 32.474 seconds for the Australian. Felicia Stancil (USA) was third.
Argentinean regional Thomas Maturano won the Men U23, and got to enjoy the great feeling of winning in front of a home crowd. Overall leader Rico Bearman (NZL) had to settle for second on the Saturday, with Matéo Colsenet in third place. American Ava Corley, meanwhile, achieved her goal of winning the Women U23.
Second win for Mahieu and rematch for Sakakibara in round 8
The round on the Sunday offered a new opportunity to those who had been disappointed the day before. For example, Simon Marquart (SUI) and Cameron Wood (USA) were much better placed. But once again, reigning UCI BMX Racing World Champion Romain Mahieu gained 500 points in the UCI rankings by taking a second victory in Santiago Del Estero.
Beaten on the Saturday by Bethany Shriever, Saya Sakakibara managed to get ahead of her this time and took the win.
In the Men U23, Matéo Colsenet proved to be the most at ease on the technical track at Santiago Del Estero. He beat Thomas Maturano and Czech rider Marek Neuzil in the final. The Women U23 race saw a completely new podium, with victory for Tessa Martinez (FRA), ahead of Isabell May (AUS) and McKenzie Gayheart (USA).
The riders now have less than a week to prepare for the final two rounds of the 2023 UCI BMX Racing World Cup, which will be held at the same venue on 13 and 14 October and will determine the winners of the overall classification.