As was the case last year, the track at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester will welcome the world’s elite BMX riders to the first round of this season’s UCI BMX Supercross World Cup. The racing will then move on to Papendal (the Netherlands), followed by the return of a round in Berlin (Germany). The 2014 season concludes with the “classic” events at Santiago Del Estero in Argentina and Chula Vista in the USA. Last year’s round in Manchester gave British Cycling a double (wins for Reade and Phillips), while this year it heralds the introduction of new rules.
The top 16 riders of the UCI men’s ranking (and top 8 of the women’s ranking) will qualify directly for the Super Final. Other riders will compete over three rounds, with the fastest 48 riders joining the protected riders for the motos on Saturday. This change is likely to lead to much more open racing and weekends of particularly fierce competition!
Last year Colombia’s Mariana Pajón and the USA’s Connor Fields were the overall winners of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup after four rounds. But who are the contenders this year? Injured before the World Championships, Shanaze Reade returns to competition in front of her home crowd and dreams of adding overall victory to her palmarès for the first time. In the men’s competition, while Fields could certainly repeat last year’s win, he will have to overcome Australia’s Sam Willoughby (2012 winner) as well as World Champion Liam Phillips and French contenders Sylvain André and Joris Daudet (2011 winner).
Two years ahead of the Rio Olympic Games, the 2014 season also sees the return of the chase by nations to secure Olympic quotas.
Photo: Shanaze Read on her way to victory in Manchester, in 2013