Tokyo Olympic hopeful Saya Sakakibara has finished fifth during round six of the 2019 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup at the St-Quentin-En-Yvelines track in France.
The 19-year old from Helensburgh in New South Wales was one of the favourites coming into this weekend, having claimed a second and third at the same event last year.
This time around Sakakibara won every one of her races leading up to the semi-final where she finished second.
In the final it was the Frenchwoman Manon Valentino who claimed the top spot from Dutch world no.1 Laura Smulders and American Alise Willoughby.
Sakakibara’s success today means that she has added an eighth final to her career world cup tally, an incredible achievement considering she has only competed in 14 her entire career.
Yesterday she was knocked out in the semi-finals but was determined to be more aggressive today.
“I took a lot of confidence from yesterday’s racing especially at the gate and knowing that I’m up there with the rest of the girls was a good feeling,” Sakakibara said. “Today it was my job to continue what I started, and I backed myself all day in the inside, recording the fastest lap times each round.
“I was second coming into the first corner in the final, but I ended up in fifth trying to lunge for that fourth position. A little disappointing because I wanted to be on that podium and I thought I could, but it’s a big step up and I have a lot of positives to take away and work on before the world championships.”
Close to sharing Saya’s achievement was her brother Kai, who missed out on the men’s final, after finishing seventh in his semi, but the 22-year-old still holds onto his ranking, sitting ninth overall.
The men’s podium was topped by the unstoppable defending world cup champion from the Netherlands, Niek Kimmann, who claimed his fourth consecutive world cup win for the season. Joining him on the podium was France’s Joris Daudet and Switzerland’s David Graf.
Full Australian Results St-Quentin Rd6: (including overall place)
Overall world cup standings for Australian riders:
Next up on the calendar is the biggest event of the year, the 2019 UCI BMX World Championships which is taking place in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium on July 26.