BMX athletes will have a last chance to gain Tokyo Olympic qualification points this weekend at rounds 3 and 4 of the 2021 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Bogotá, Colombia. Riders from all five continents will unite on 29-30 May in the South American country’s capital and largest city where, at 2,630 metres above sea level, racing will be very demanding. The BMX track has three split sections: two of them will be used for the UCI World Cup racing, with all riders – including those in the new Under 23 category - using the 8-metre start hill.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualification Rankings will be finalised after the racing in Bogotá, in line with the qualification system which was updated as a result of the postponement of the Olympic Games due to the Covid-19 pandemic,
Bring on the youngsters!
The Under 23 category proved to be a welcome addition to the UCI World Cup circuit in Verona (Italy) where the first two rounds were held earlier in May. The class, for both Men and Women, was introduced by the UCI in consultation with the BMX Racing Commission on a trial basis for 2021 with an option for full integration in 2022. The new category gives riders an introduction to the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup without immediately racing against the Elite.
Packed Elite Men’s field
With many Colombians among the 70 riders registered in the Men Elite class, the chances are high that several blue Colombian jerseys will make it to the top-eight final. Of tother riders from around the world, Izaac Kennedy from Australia has been in good shape and wants to see where he stands against some of the fastest racers in the world. Anderson de Souza Filho (BRA) has been staying active on the BMX scene by racing in the USA but he’ll have to deal with Colombians Diego Arboleda, Vincent Pelluard and Carlos Ramirez.
After skipping the first two rounds, Olympian and former UCI World Champion Joris Daudet (FRA) will line up in Bogotá and brings a lot of French Elite BMXers to the starting gate with him including Romain Mahieu, Leo Garoyan and Arthur Pilard, who finished second in round one of this year’s UCI World Cup in Verona. USA’s Jared Garcia, Switzerland’s Cedric Butti, South Africa’s Tyler Klumper, Michael Bias (NZL), Patrick Coo from the Phillippines, and Russian BMX stars Aleksandr Katyshev, Evgeny Kleshchenko and Boris Ponomarev will add to the multicultural BMX family set to start in Bogotá.
Elite Women: all eyes on Mariana Pajón
Without a doubt the most decorated female BMX athlete is Mariana Pajón. The Colombian will have her 1.9 million Instagram fans tuned in to see her racing on home soil. The South American fans will also be thrilled to see the international stars coming to town for the last Olympic Qualifying race. Felicia Stancil (USA), Manon Valentino (FRA) and Natalia Afremova (RUS) are just a few names of the big names on the 29-strong Elite Women participation list. ‘Race-mode’ will be on in the last big international race weekend before the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo, Japan.
Not having to cope with international travel will be an advantage for the Colombians, but will it lead to podium results? Watch the racing unfold live on UCI.org.