UCI Urban Cycling World Championships: Roberts and Nakamura claim BMX Freestyle Park rainbow jerseys

The UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) concluded on Sunday with the amazing BMX Freestyle Park finals, where the rainbow bands were awarded to Hannah Roberts (USA) and Rim Nakamura (JPN).

The fields of 25 women and 60 men came down to 12 in the finals with each featuring up-and-coming riders as well as Olympians. The competition on the final day did not disappoint. Here’s how each played out…

Women's BMX Freestyle Park: Roberts retains top spot!

With the best of two runs counting, tactics were crucial.

Laury Perez (FRA) rolled the dice, but having saved her energy for run two, things went south on her first backflip and she had to be content with 12th place. 

With solid first runs in the pocket Lara Lessmann (GER), Analia Zacarias (ARG) and Angie Marino (USA) had the opportunity to better their scores in their second runs, pushing their riding to the next level – but that comes with risks. None of them could better their first run score, finishing in 11th, 10th and 9th places respectively.

On the other hand, Minato Oike (JPN) did better her first run, pulling the tailwhip at the end and finishing 8th. Perris Benegas (USA) packed in two clean runs with the biggest airs to get 7th right behind Queen Villegas Serna from Colombia, whose first run score of 77.40 put her in 6th

Olympic Champion Charlotte Worthington (GBR) had packed in a 720 on the box in her first run, planning to step things up for run number two, just like she did at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But the 720 she’d pulled in her first run did not work out, ending her shot for a podium at the 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships. She had to settle for 5th place.

Kim Lea Müller’s fantastic second run included backflips, 360s, tailwhips and a truckdriver over the spine where she hit a 360 rotation and a barspin all in one. The German athlete finished just off the podium, but the smile on her face showed her happiness as she rolled back to the athlete section after her demonstration.

Iveta Miculycová (CZE) confirmed that her title of 2022 European Champion was no fluke, making it onto her first UCI World Championships podium. Her 83.20 run featured cannonballs, nothings and flips.

After a second run packed with tricks from start to finish, Nikita Ducarroz (SUI) was in the lead with one more rider to go. The score to beat was 84.70. And defending UCI World Champion Hannah Roberts beat it. Her perfectly executed run, which included tailwhips and backflip variations, scored 87.20. 

With gold and silver, the USA and Switzerland have already secured a spot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Men's BMX Freestyle Park: Nakamura is untouchable!  

After his first-place qualification for the semi-finals, Japanese sensation Rim Nakamura settled for 8th in the semis, leaving it until the last event of the whole 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships to unpack what he really wanted to show. 

The Japanese rider put on an amazing demonstration in front of the fan-packed grandstands and the opposite section of the park filled with coaches, riders and VIPs including UCI President David Lappartient. The four-trick backflip variations and 720 variations together with the amplitude, variety, course use and style were unmatched by the other finalists – and Nakamura posted a huge score of 93.80.

The USA’s Justin Dowell packed in technical tricks with a fine score of 91.50, which got him silver in Abu Dhabi and a spot for his nation at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, just as Nakamura had with the victory. 

France already has a host nation spot for the Olympics and with Anthony Jeanjean, who finished a close 3rd at the 2022 UCI World Championships with 91.20, they also demonstrate their medal potential. 

The 2022 edition of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships is a wrap. After the combined 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow and across Scotland, the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships will return to Abu Dhabi in 2024.