With four of the ten UCI BMX Supercross World Cup rounds completed we’re starting to get a clear picture of which countries are delivering the fast riders in 2019. Now that the Dutch meeting in Papendal is behind us and we’re looking forward to the next event in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines (France), let’s catch up on the current situation.
France and the Netherlands have been scoring the best results in the Men Elite racing. And it will be home game next for the French on 8-9 June who would like to emulate the Dutch, who used their home advantage at Papendal on 11-12 May to take two wins. Niek Kimmann (NED) rode two amazing finals, using his power to get in the lead from lane 8 on both days. While the Dutch had no other Men Elite finalists in Papendal, the French crew of Joris Daudet, Jérémy Rencurel, Romain Mahieu, Arthur Pilard and Sylvain André all made it to the final 8 at least once during the weekend.
UCI BMX SX World Cup standings 2019 - after Stage 4:— UCI BMX Supercross (@UCI_BMX_SX) May 13, 2019
Men: 1 Niek KIMMANN (NED) 500, 2 Joris DAUDET (FRA) 435, 3 Sylvain ANDRE (FRA) 365, 4 David GRAF (SUI) 360, 5 Jeremy RENCUREL (FRA) 350, 6 Alfredo CAMPO (ECU) 310, 7 Kye WHYTE (GBR) 310, 8 Kai SAKAKIBARA (AUS) 245 pic.twitter.com/ZAgVoLOSvD
Earlier in the week, André drove home from Papendal to witness the birth of his first child: but with the UCI World Cup on the agenda for the weekend, the Frenchman made it back in time for the races. It did not work out very well on Saturday but Sunday was a different story as the rider from Aix-en-Provence made the podium behind Kimmann and Daudet.
The French currently lead the Nations Ranking with 3276 points followed by the Dutch (3167) and Switzerland (2105). David Graf has made finals at all UCI BMX Supercross World Cups so far and is bringing in more than half of Switzerland’s points single-handedly.
Laura Smulders’ pre-season had been going great but she was still searching for a UCI World Cup win in 2019 coming into the Papendal weekend. Saturday saw a third different World Cup winner and it wasn’t her... Judy Baauw (NED) made an incredible move in the last turn to pass both Smulders and Alise Willoughby (USA) on the last straight. But Smulders, the reigning UCI World Champion, got her win in front of her home crowd on Sunday, shooting the Dutch to a strong lead in the Nations Ranking (2926 points) followed by the USA (2015) and Australia (1690).
In the Olympic Qualifying ranking, the top two positions remain the same but Team USA sits in third in both the Men’s and Women’s categories. It’s a long road to Tokyo and lots can happen between now and July 2020. It was amazing to see Olympic Champion Mariana Pajón back in action after being sidelined for a year. The Colombian had crashed at Papendal in 2018 and the damage to her knee needed a year to heal. Having a strong team of contenders is key and when we move to Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines for Rounds 5 and 6 of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, the French will be present in full force and will be hard to beat at home.
So which riders from outside the French and Dutch squads can make the difference? After grabbing his first World Cup podium in Manchester (GBR), Ecuador’s Alfredo Campo now wants more. Kye Whyte took a home win in Round 2 in Manchester and is also looking for more podium finishes. Can Australian Anthony Dean surprise on his new bike or will it be America’s Corben Sharrah’s weekend?
With four different World Cup winners already in the Women’s competition this season, other athletes are pushing to make the top step of the podium, not least Alise Willoughby (USA), Saya Sakakibara (AUS), Natalia Afremova (RUS), Elke Vanhoof (BEL) and Mariana Pajon (COL). But first they’ll have to make the main in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines which isn’t an easy task against the fastest BMX racers in the world.