Two-time Australian BMX Olympian Caroline Buchanan is set to throw down her challenge for an eighth world title in the finals at the 2017 UCI Four-Cross World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
As the defending champion, Buchanan came into this year’s event as a hot favourite, and quickly delivered on her favouritism in the opening qualifying round to finish first ahead of the Czech rider Romana Labounkova and Frenchwoman Camille Maire.
When the 26-year-old from Canberra races the main event at 4:45am AEST tomorrow, it will be in the hope of adding to her four other four-cross world titles won in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2016.
If she is to be successful for a second year running, Buchanan will cement her place as the most successful women’s four-cross competitor since the first edition of the event in 2002. Just to sweeten the deal, another gold medal to Buchanan would make Australia the most winningest nation in the women’s event – and yep, you guessed it, that would be thanks to one rider only.
Standing in her way is the tough Val di Sole course. Hosting the championships for the third consecutive year, Val di Sole possess many challenges including a gruelling 600 metre (including 90 metres of drop) track, the longest of the four-cross pro circuits. It also serves up three extremely difficult double jumps.
Undoubtedly Buchanan will need to be wary of Labounkova and Maire in her pursuit of the title tonight, and also won’t discount 2016 runner up Franziska Meyer of Germany, who was fifth in the qualification rounds.
The Aussie BMX (and fair to say multi-cycling discipline) star arrived in Val di Sole this week hot off the back of a number of impressive performances throughout the year. An Australian BMX title, a handful of wins at Crankworx events, second at the UCI BMX World Championships, and eventual runner-up to USA rider Jill Kintner in the chase for the Queen of Crankworx title, 2017 has been nothing to scoff at.
But earlier this week Buchanan confessed to Mountain Bike Australia that winning both the BMX world championship and Queen of Crankworx title had been on her to do list for 2017.
“There have been a few [events] like BMX world champion which I narrowly missed out on by +0.008 of a second in a photo finish! And the overall Queen of Crankworx title was also a goal but Jill Kintner proved to strong this year with myself coming in second place,” said Buchanan.
Despite this, the Aussie said that another four-cross world title, and the right to wear the coveted rainbow world champion jersey for a further 12 months, is one item that remains on her sporting shopping list.
“Coming away with my eighth world title this weekend is definitely one I want to tick off my list for 2017.”
The 2017 UCI Four-Cross World Championships continues at 4.45am AEST Saturday August 26.
You can follow Buchanan’s progress online via the UCI Twitter page.
View the full Mountain Bike Australia article here.
Read the full list of entries here.