The 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup roars back into action this weekend! For Aussie fans that means it’s time to select your favourite blend of coffee and prepare for two late nights of top-shelf BMX action.
Here’s what you need to know, where to watch, and a little information about the riders who will lining up on the gate in Papendal, the Netherlands this weekend!
EVENT: Rounds three and four of the 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup
LOCATION: National Sports Centre Papendal – the national sports development centre of the Netherlands, located 8 kilometres from the city of Arnhem in the eastern part of the country.
With a population of 156,000+, it is one of the larger cities in the Netherlands.
WHEN IT’S ON: Live coverage of round three will begin at 9:30pm AEST on Saturday May 5, with round four’s coverage commencing at the same time this Sunday, May 6.
WHERE TO WATCH: The action from the weekend will be live streamed on YouTube. The players are embedded below and will be shared again prior to the event this weekend.
WHAT HAPPENED IN PAPENDAL IN 2017: Last year Papendal was the first stop on the world cup calendar, with rounds one and two of the series held on Dutch soil on consecutive days.
Round one of the men’s competition saw Frenchman Sylvain Andre take the win ahead of Dutch duo Dave van der Burg and Twan van Gendt. The top placed Aussies were Bodi Turner in fourth and Kai Sakakibara in fifth.
In the women’s competition Laura Smulders won on home turf for the second world cup event in a row, third time overall. Russia’s Yaroslava Bondarenko and Judy Baauw of the Netherlands rounded out the podium. Lauren Reynolds was our highest placed rider in 10th on day one.
Come day two it was Reynolds who flew the Aussie flag highest, the Bunbury native racing to third – Australia’s first world cup podium of 2017. Ahead of her was two-time Olympic champion Mariana Pajon in second, while Smulders extended her Papendal record to three-straight round wins and four for her career at the same venue.
In round two of the men’s world cup Andre lost his top ranking to countryman Joris Daudet who crossed first in the final ahead of Canadian Tory Nyhaug and Olympic champion Connor Fields of the USA. Turner was again the top ranked Aussie, this time in 10th.
THE BEST RECORD IN PAPENDAL: Some athletes crack under pressure when they perform in front of a home crowd, but not Laura Smulders. The two-time world cup winner has won four rounds of the series in Papendal, and the last three consecutively.
Make no mistake, she is the unrivalled queen of this track. She also won rounds one and two of the 2018 world cup series. Anyone prepared to dismiss her winning credentials when the gate drops this weekend will be a braver person than most.
The best historical form in the men’s competition is harder to pick. Latvian Maris Strombergs picked up a pair of wins in 2012 and 2016, he remains the only two-time winner on the track in the past eight world cup rounds held at the venue.
Niek Kimmann is the last Dutchman to have won at home, that victory coming in 2015. However, a win in round two of this year’s series in France will have Kimmann pumped up to grab a second win at home.
AUSSIES TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Need we say more about Saya Sakakibara? The 18-year-old grabbed a pair of medals from the two French world cup rounds a few weeks ago and looked comfortable banging bars with the world’s best female riders.
Her older brother Kai and fellow male competitors Andrew Hughes, Jye Hombsch, Shane Rosa and 2018 Australian elite men’s champion Brandon Te Hiko will have their work cut out for them but shouldn’t be discounted.
Making a return to world cup action for the first time in 2018 will be 2016 Rio Olympic finalist Anthony Dean.
Joining the above riders will be Adam Carey, Max Cairns, Izaac Kennedy and the ACT’s Harriet Burbidge-Smith.
Also taking part in the action this weekend is 16-years competitor Des’ree Barnes (Queensland) who will be taking part in the challenge class racing.
CURRENT TOP RANKED RIDERS IN THE WORLD