Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2019 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup are being held at the covered supercross track in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines, France on the weekend of 8-9 June. Sixty women have entered the World Cup race and no fewer than 205 athletes are on the men’s entry list, making this one of the biggest World Cup races of the 2019 season. With France amongst the biggest and strongest BMX nations, a large delegation of fast elite racers will attempt to use home advantage and the crowd’s support and score some valuable ranking points. Situated in the outskirts of Paris, the French National Cycling Centre facility will be prepared to welcome riders from close to 30 different countries.
Last year’s winners at the opening round in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines, Joris Daudet of France and The Netherlands’ Niek Kimmann are once again favourites going into rounds 5 and 6. Daudet leads Kimmann in the Elite ranking with 1450 and 1410 UCI points respectively, with UCI World Champion Sylvain André in a close third on 1345 points. France is also leading the UCI BMX Elite Men Nation Ranking over The Netherlands and the United States of America, and they’re not planning on giving up that position when the race is held in their home country. Next to Daudet and André, the French have another podium candidates in Jeremy Rencurel who finished 2nd at the opening round in Manchester, England and got third at Papendal, Netherlands, only a few weeks ago. His compatriot Romain Mahieu is trying to rediscover the form he had at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup at Saint Quentin last year where he finished on the podium with two second places back to back.
But in BMX there are plenty of outsiders, athletes who could shine out of the blue. We’ve seen it happen this year with Britain’s Kye Whyte winning in Manchester and Alfredo Campo of Ecuador scoring his first UCI World Cup podium in The Netherlands. Olympic champion Connor Fields (USA) is back to do battle after missing the first four World Cup Supercross rounds of 2019 and if there is one athlete with a winning mentality, it’s him. Long overdue for a win is Switzerland’s David Graf who has come very close a few times already but has not yet been able to make it stick. David will have two more chances this weekend in France.
With 14 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup wins, The Netherlands’ Laura Smulders can be considered a prime candidate
for one, if not two more victories in France. But so far this year the Supercross races have seen four different winners. Next to Smulders are her fellow Dutchwoman Judy Bauw, Simone Christensen (DEN) and French home favourite Manon Valentino who
have all stepped on the top step of the podium, showing how the Women’s class is both competitive and unpredictable in 2019. Smulders’ two wins in France on this track last year show that she’s fast in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines but on her home track Valentino
must not be underestimated. The USA’s Alise Willoughby is currently sitting in second place behind Smulders in the UCI BMX Women Elite ranking and would like to see that order switched after the race in Paris. She has been so close to that 2019
UCI BMX Supercross World Cup victory that she can taste it. Judy Baauw is breathing down her neck in the individual ranking (1365 vs 1265 points) and obviously has the same plans of winning more races.
Could anybody else win the Women Elite class? In BMX racing anything is possible. Saya Sakakibara (AUS) has a good chance, as does Natalia Afremova from Russia. Will Merel Smulders be able to beat her sister and the rest of the pack? Can American BMX champion Felicia Stancil make it work or does France’s Camille Maire have secret lines on her home track at the Place de la Paix Celeste? Is Colombia’s Mariana Pajon back after injury? Her victory a few weeks ago at the Pan American Continental Championship should send a positive answer to that question.
Last year 12,000 spectators attended the first international BMX event at Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines at the covered track. The layout consists of four straight lines including a pro section and three asphalt turns, on a total length of 410 meters. Equipped with an 8 metre hill with a Pro Gate starting gate and another starting grid which measures 5 meters, the stadium can host the biggest competitions from regional to international World Cup level. If you can’t make it to the race yourself, make sure to catch the live feed on the UCI platforms on Saturday and Sunday.