Cream of World BMX flock to KZN

2011-04-05 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — The cream of the world’s BMX racers has flooded into KwaZulu-Natal ahead of the weekend UCI BMX Supercross season-opening clash at Alexandra Park, assembling one of the strongest fields ever for the Olympic qualifying event. Despite world number ones Maris Strombergs (Latvia) and Letitia le Corguille (France), as well 2010 women’s World Champ Shanaze Reade (Great Britain), being sidelined by injury, the remaining nine men and eight women in the UCI’s top ten have jetted into the province in search of crucial points in the first round of the international BMX racing circuit. Team New Zealand, led by the in-form Marc Willers and Sarah Walker, was one of the first teams to touch down and, with rules only allowing riders to take to the track for the first time on Thursday, they will look to spend the next few days overcoming their jet lag and acclimatising to local conditions. Current men’s world number two Sam Willoughby will start as a popular favourite to take home the spoils. He leads a strong Australian contingency along with the likes of women’s number three Caroline Buchanan, Lauren Reynolds, Rachel Bracken and Brian Kirkham. Despite the absence of Reade and the entire Great Britain team, the European flavour added to the mix will again be highly competitive. Thomas Hamon and Joris Daudet, recently tipped by many fellow riders as “two to watch”, will be at the helm of a very competitive French team of six male and six female riders. The Netherlands too shall boast a large contingent again this year with current world number four Raymon van der Biezen leading the way for the Dutch come Friday morning. As far as numbers go it is the United States who are comfortably the largest team attending the Pietermaritzburg event with their 17-strong team. They will be led into battle by Nic Long, David Herman, Alise Post and Arielle Martin.

 

Although World number seven Ramiro Marino is the lone South American on the men’s top ten list, the Argentine, along with his eleven team-mates will be eager to face up against the best in the world and show what he can do on an international stage. South Africa will be represented by nine men and one woman as the quest for the crucial Olympic qualifying points gets under way. The UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Pietermaritzburg takes place at Alexandra Park on April 8 and 9.

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