BMX competitions are held throughout the year and like mountain biking and road cycling they have their own world cup to compete in and with it’s popularity growing the field is getting really competitive. With so many exciting riders competing this year in the Olympics it’s been tough breaking down my ‘ones to watch’ into a select few.
Conner Fields (USA)
Currently top in the UCI BMX men’s rankings. Not only did he win the BMX SX world cups in Chula Vista and Randaberg this year he also had a winning streak of four superfinal wins and 3 SX wins in a row making him the Americans favourite for a gold medal in the BMX events at this year’s Olympic Games. But Conner had a shocking event at the UCI BMX World Cup in Birmingham this May only managing 30th place. Hopefully that event was just a hiccup and Conner is fit,healthy and ready to start a new winning streak for the rest of the BMX season.
Sam Willoughby (AUS)
The current UCI world champion after his impressive win at the UCI World Champs in Birmingham this year is placed second in UCI rankings at this time. He also managed a second place at the UCI SX BMC World Championships in Papendal , Randaberg and Chula Vista this year. With a handful of second place finishes the Australian native will be looking to take home a gold this time round.
Maris Strombergs (LAT)
The Latvian BMX rider will come to London to defend his Olympic title from Beijing. He won a first place at Papendal this year but the rest of the season has been a bit of a disappointment with a handful of top 10 finishes, none of them in the top three. Currently lying fourth in the UCI standings Maris is the first BMX rider to defend an Olympic title and very eager to add yet another gold to his cabinet.
Tory Nyhoug (CAN)
Tory was only 16 in 2008 and too young to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, so he spent the next four years training to ensure he could make it into the Canadian team. Currently 5th in the UCI world rankings he has youth on his side. But he has had a few bizarre breaks over the years and in May this year ended up in intensive care after a crash caused a ruptured spleen (for a second time) and a broken wrist. After a bit of consideration and advice from doctors Tory had his spleen removed only 8 weeks ago. But Tory’s dream to compete in the 2012 Olympics hasn’t ended yet as he eagerly awaits the start and his chance to prove he is worthy of a place on the Olympic squad.
Caroline Buchanan (AUS)
Currently the top ranking female in the UCI rankings Caroline is another rider who was too young for the Beijing Olympics. 1st place winner at Randaberg and 2nd at Papendal UCI BMX SX World Championships she is Australia’s hope to bring home a gold medal. Nicknamed the Cannonball she was the first Australian female to win a round of the Supercross and is the 11x Australian female champion in BMX.
Alise Post (USA)
Alise is ranked 2nd in the UCI BMX SX World Championships. She had an injury in 2011 which required sergury and rehab in order to ensure she could compete in 2012. But once returning to the bike the American girl has been pretty successful. She has won the USA BX Championship at Chula Vista in 2011 and 2012 as well as a 4th in the World championships at the same course. She also earned a 1st place finish at the UCI worlds at Papendal this year, along with a 3rd at Randaberg. Alise has dedicated her training for the London Olympics over the past few years and wants nothing more then to become the next BMX Olympic Champion.
Laetitia LeCorguille (FRA)
The silver medallist at the Olympics has returned to try this time for the gold. Currently 4th in the UCI World rankings she has had a bit of an up and down season with a 2nd, 3rd and 7th placing in UCI World Cup events. With her teammate and the Olympic Champion Anne-Caroline Chausson not at this year’s event to defend her title Laetitia is keen to do it for her.
Shanaze Reade (GBR)
Great Britain’s hope for another gold medal to continue their reign in cycling events. Shanaze was the favourite to win in Beijing in 2008 but after she crashed out of the final her dreams, along with the nations were over. The 2010 UCI World cup winner Shanaze is not only a BMX cyclist but a keen track cyclist as well, but her first love is on the BMX track rather than the wooden one of the Velodrome and Shanaze wants desperately to win on home soil and collect the medal she could have won in 2008.
In BMX, the competition is fierce and the track is fast meaning anything can happen on the day. For many of the riders this is their first experience at an Olympic games, and with such an even playing field of talent it guarantees to be exciting. Although most of these 8 riders mentioned above are top of the UCI rankings, some of them are only coming back after injury so it will be interesting to see if they can cope when the competition heats up.