UCI Urban Cycling World Championships: a first for Abu Dhabi

The 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) will gather the best BMX Freestyle and trials athletes together for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Today we look at the main contenders in the BMX Freestyle events, before focusing tomorrow on the favourites in the trials competition.

It is the first time Abu Dhabi hosts the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships, and the event will return to this largest of the seven Emirates, Asia’s first UCI Bike City, in 2024.

BMX Freestyle Park: eyes already on Paris 2024

For BMX Freestyle Park athletes, this year’s UCI World Championships also represent the first chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The UCI Nations Ranking was used to determine the quota spots for the 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships. Australia, USA and France used the maximum number of allocated spots; six each.

UCI World Champion and Olympic gold medallist Logan Martin is part of the Australian squad. Team USA have selected several youngsters for their team in 2022 including Jacob Thiem, Bryce Tryon and Marcus Christopher. France has built a team around Anthony Jeanjean. All eyes are on him for a good result with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in mind.

With two Olympic nation spots available it will be interesting to see who will go ‘full send’ to claim the tickets. Kevin Peraza will enter his first UCI World Championships representing Mexico. He could come out swinging. Venezuela’s veteran Daniel Dhers is not slowing down one bit and Great Britain’s Kieran Reilly has been on fire this year, winning several major competitions. When Rim Nakamura is in shape and riding injury free, there are not many riders that go higher than him. He will want to make Japan proud at the 2022 UCI World Championships as will Costa Rica’s Kenneth Tencio. And how will Argentina’s Jose Torres Gil perform in Abu Dhabi?

The entire Olympic podium will be present in the Women’s Freestyle Park class. Great Britain’s Charlotte Worthington (gold), USA’s Hannah Roberts (silver) and Switzerland’s Nikita Ducarroz (bronze) are all on the entry list for Abu Dhabi, looking for an opportunity to qualify their nation for the 2024 Olympic Games. With only the top two claiming a ticket, at least one of them will have to find another way to make it to Paris.

During the year’s events it has become clear that the Villegas Serna twin sisters, Lizsurley and Queensaray, from Colombia are on a mission. Will they be able to follow in the footsteps of BMX Racing’s Mariana Pájon and put Colombia on top of the podium in BMX Freestyle Park?

When the field of play is to Perris Benegas’ liking, the American is always in with a chance for a podium spot. It will also be interesting to see how the newly crowned European Champion Iveta Miculycová (CZE) will do among worldwide competition. She is currently ranked 14 in the UCI Individual Rankngs and wants to move up after Abu Dhabi and be in with a chance to make her Olympic debut in Paris.

The 2022 BMX Freestyle Park UCI World Champions will be crowned for both Men and Women on Sunday 13 November.

BMX Freestyle Flatland: last year’s medallists in the line-up

There is a record participation of BMX Freestyle Flatland athletes in the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships this year. In the women’s competition, Austrian Irina Sadovnik will not defend her title. With five female athletes coming from France – including last year’s bronze medallist Céline Vaes -, a podium spot for that nation is very likely. But they will have to contend with last year’s silver medallist Julia Preuss (GER), Paula Hesser (CAN), and Kirara Nakagawa (JPN) when the competition starts on Wednesday.

In the men’s competition, current UCI World Champion Matthias Dandois did not have the best preparation, having broken his ankle only weeks ago and the Frenchman has done everything possible to be able to defend his title. Competition can be expected from Jean-William Prevost (CAN), Terry Adams (USA), Spain’s Varo Hernandez and Viki Gomez, Alex Jumelin (FRA) and of course the entire Japanese Flatland delegation: Moto Sasaki, Kio Hayakawa and Ito Masato.

The 2022 BMX Flatland UCI World Champions will be crowned for both Men and Women on Friday 11 November.