UCI World Cycling Centre: BMX Racing athletes with high ambition

Eight BMX Racing athletes make up the BMX Racing group training this year at the UCI World Cycling Centre.

For some it is their first time at the high-level training centre, while others are returning to continue their progression in the world of Elite racing.

They come from five different countries on three continents, but Switzerland is currently their home as they prepare for their respective individual goals, be it the Asian Games, the UCI BMX Racing World Championships (in Nantes, France on 26 July) or, longer term, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Coach Tyrone Johns explains: “We have athletes with different experience who all train together towards their own goals. At the UCI World Cycling Centre, they learn about life as a top-level athlete. It’s not just training, but also nutrition, sleeping, bike preparation and everything that is important to reach gold-medal standard.”

Meet the team

Gabriela Bolle (COL), aged 23: This is Gabriela’s first year training at the UCI World Cycling Centre. After a second place – behind a certain Mariana Pajón – in the third round of last year’s UCI BMX Racing World Cup in Bogotá (Colombia), Gabriela will be aiming for more UCI World Cup podiums this year and making the final of the UCI BMX Racing World Championships.

Pedro Benalcazar (ECU), aged 18: Still a Junior, Pedro comes to the UCI World Cycling Centre with the aim of shining in his last year before stepping up to the Under 23 category. After two UCI World Cup finals last year and 23rd place at the UCI BMX Racing World Championships, the Ecuadorian will be looking for podiums this year.

Zoé Claessens (SUI), aged 22: The reigning European Champion finished 8th in last year’s UCI BMX Racing World Championships, podiumed at the UCI World Cup in Sakarya (Turkey) and made the semi-finals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She’s out for wins this year as she builds up her Paris 2024 Olympic campaign, and has already clocked up wins at the 2022 UEC European Cup.

Sae Hatakeyama (JPN), aged 22: Like Zoé, Sae is no stranger to the UCI WCC and has returned in 2022 to continue the progress that saw her make several UCI World Cup finals last year, including 3rd place in Verona (Italy). A crash and broken collar bone in Tokyo marred her first Olympic participation last year but she is back on track in Aigle for more podiums and the Paris 2024 build-up.

Chutikan Kitwanitsathian (THA), aged 23: Silver medallist at the last Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018, Chutikan will be hoping to go one better at this year’s Games in Hangzhou (China) in September. She will arrive at the UCI World Cycling Centre in June to make use of the high-level training facilities and coaching.

Einar Lindburg (SWE), aged 19: Already at the UCI WCC as a Junior last year, the young Swede intends getting the most out of his first year in the Under-23 category. Consistency is one of his key objectives as he works toward the UCI BMX Racing World Championships and Paris 2024.

Simon Marquart (SUI), aged 25: Overall winner of the 2021 UCI BMX World Cup, 4th at the UCI World Championships and quarter-finalist at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Swiss Champion is coming back from an early-season broken collarbone but will be on track for the major rendezvous of the year, with Paris 2024 in his sights.

Komet Sukrapsert (THA), aged 21: Komet returns to the UCI World Cycling Centre after spending time in Aigle as a Junior. Gold medalist in the last Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, in 2019 in the Philippines, Komet will look to conquer the entire continent at this year’s Asian Games in September.

The athletes have already travelled together to rounds of the UEC European Cup, and head to Glasgow (Great Britain) for the first round of the UCI BMX Racing World Cup at the end of this month (28 May). We will follow their progression.