Some of the best BMX riders in the world will grace Manchester’s HSBC UK | National Cycling Centre this weekend, as they battle for world cup titles and Tokyo 2020 qualifying points.
The first two rounds of this year’s UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series take place on Saturday and Sunday - the first world cup at the iconic indoor venue since 2016.
Every one of the top ten-ranked male riders in the world will be taking to the start ramp, with world number one Niek Kimmann (Netherlands), reigning world champion Sylvain Andre (France) and Great Britain’s European champion Kyle Evans among the ones to watch.
All of the previous four world champions will compete: Andre, who won the title in Baku last year; 2017 champion Corben Sharrah of the United States; Andre’s countryman Joris Daudet, who won gold in 2016 and silver last year; and Kimmann, who claimed the only world title of his career so far in Belgium in 2015.
Lining up in Great Britain colours will be – amongst others – Evans and Kye Whyte, who recorded a memorable one-two finish at last year’s UEC European Championships in Glasgow.
The women’s champion from that event, the all-conquering Dutch rider Laura Smulders, will also compete this weekend.
Smulders – who is also the reigning world champion – will share top billing with Colombia’s Mariana Pajon, an undoubted legend of the sport.
A true icon in her home nation, 27-year-old Pajon – who has recently returned to competition following injury – has won all there is to win in BMX, including the Olympic titles in both London and Rio de Janeiro and three world titles (2011, 2014 and 2016).
As with the men, all of the world’s top ten-ranked women will be in Manchester, with Merel Smulders and Judy Baauw – who completed an all-Dutch podium at last year’s world championships – also in contention for honours.
Australia’s Saya Sakakibara, Alise Willoughby of the USA and Russia’s Yaroslava Bondarenko are all likely to be amongst the fastest women on the start line, while 2017 junior world champion Beth Shriever will be the main British hope on the women’s side.
A limited number of tickets are still available for both days of competition, and can be purchased here.