UCI Cycling Worlds: BMX Freestyle Park favourites, defenders and more

Reigning UCI World Champions Rim Nakamura (Japan) and Hannah Roberts (USA) are among the star-studded line-up for the BMX Freestyle Park competition in Glasgow, Scotland.

After the modern backdrop of Abu Dhabi (UAE) last year, the battle for the BMX Freestyle Park rainbow jerseys will take place in a very different décor this year: Glasgow Green, which has a history dating back many centuries.

Japan’s Rim Nakamura won his first UCI World title in Abu Dhabi, while American Hannah Roberts added a fourth rainbow jersey to her collection. Both will face stiff competition in Glasgow, which is hosting the UCI BMX Freestyle World Championships as part of the first UCI Cycling World Championships taking place in the city and across all of Scotland from 3 to 13 August.

After a full day of practice on Friday 4 August the qualification phase will start on Saturday followed by the semi-final on Sunday and the finals on Monday 7 August.

Nakamura on the up

Reigning UCI World Champion Rim Nakamura (Japan) has been going from strength to strength in the 2023 UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup: after 12th place in the opening round in Diriyah (Saudi Arabia) he finished 6th in Montpellier (France) and second at the most recent round in Brussels (Belgium).

Anthony Jeanjean from France emerged as the winner in Brussels after second place in Montpellier behind Olympic and two-time UCI World Champion, Logan Martin (AUS). The Frenchman could arguably have extra motivation, one year out from his home Olympic Games in Paris.

The USA, Australia and France have the biggest maximum quota (six) for Men’s Freestyle Park competition, followed by Great Britain, Japan and Argentina who each have the right to send five athletes.

Roberts going for five

Hannah Roberts (USA) has won most UCI World titles of any rider out there. But recent UCI World Cup victories have gone to riders from China, and with Venezuelan legend Daniel Dhers currently coaching the Chinese women, it will only become harder for any other riders to reach the top step of the podium in Glasgow.

Huimin Zhou has two UCI World Cup victories to her name this year (Montpellier and Brussels) and the Chinese delegation placed five women in the top ten of the Belgium round where only Hannah Roberts prevented the Chinese making a clean sweep of the podium finishing second between Zhou and Honglin Zia.

The BMX Freestyle Park events are sold out, demonstrating the popularity of cycling’s youngest Olympic discipline. The riders will have 60 seconds to try to go the highest, make the biggest transfer, and bring the ‘never seen before’ tricks to Glasgow.