The UCI World Cycling Centre today opened its training facility for cycling’s fifth and newest Olympic discipline, BMX Freestyle Park.
The grounds of the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, now boast a state-of the-art Park in addition to its existing Supercross track for BMX Racing and its adjacent BMX pump track.
BMX Freestyle Park entered the Olympic arena last year at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina, and will make its debut at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo 2020.
Wednesday’s official inauguration brought together members of the UCI Management Committee, the UCI WCC Executive Committee and Foundation Board, local authorities, the Olympic family and UCI WCC partners and supporters.
UCI President David Lappartient explained that it was essential to provide a high-quality training facility for National Federations.
“It was impossible for us to have BMX Freestyle Park join the Olympics without providing our National Federations with an opportunity to train their athletes in the discipline,” he said. “Our Olympic family is growing and we want athletes from the world over to have the same opportunities and access to facilities of the highest level so they can reach their objectives.”
Lara Lessmann, part of the German team that shared gold with Argentina at last year’s YOGs was in Aigle this week to try out the new facility. Fourth at the last two editions of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships and currently ranked 2nd in the world, 19-year-old Lessmann was enthusiastic about the UCI WCC’s new park:
“It’s perfect! I wish we could ride this every day,” said the Berlin-based athlete who trains on a smaller, less-professional facility.
The UCI WCC Park, constructed by UCI Partner Hurricane Parks, includes two padded resi sections where athletes can attempt new tricks and be assured of a soft reception on landing.
“We don’t have this in Germany, it’s really amazing,” marvelled the World Number 2, who is now aiming for Tokyo 2020.
Same reaction from her YOG team-mate Evan Brandes: “My first impression is very, very good. The resi… the quality is fantastic.”
The two Germans tested the new UCI WCC Park alongside Argentina’s Agustina Roth – who shared Youth Olympic Games gold with them last year - and rising French star Florent Kastner.
All expressed their desire to return to the new UCI WCC facility, which they judged ideal for training and learning new tricks.
Guests at Wednesday’s official opening were also treated to a demonstration of BMX Freestyle Flatland given by Alex Jumelin (France), multiple winner of the International Festival of Extreme Sports (Festival International des Sports Extrêmes – FISE). Flatland was integrated into the UCI in 2018, and this year featured at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships for the first time.
The UCI World Cycling Centre is an Olympic training centre offering excellent training conditions for all cycling’s Olympic disciplines (road, track, mountain bike, BMX Racing and BMX Freestyle) as well as for cyclo-cross. National Federations that choose to train with their teams in Aigle also benefit from the UCI WCC’s velodrome, fully-equipped gym, Wattbikes, restaurant and nearby accommodation.