CYCLING Preview: BMX Supercross and Mountain Bike Downhill World Cup seasons begin in Europe

Dutch BMX World Cup champion Niek Kimmann

It’s World Cup time again for BMX riders and the first two races in the 2019 BMX Supercross World Cup are in Manchester (GBR) on the weekend. This is the first of five stops this season, with racing on Saturday and Sunday.

The defending men’s World Cup champion is Dutch rider Niek Kimmann, who amassed 975 points to edge Joris Daudet (FRA: 900) and Sylvain Andre (FRA: 815), who won the World Championship race over Daudet in Baku (AZE) last June. The current UCI World Rankings:

1. 1,440 Niek Kimmann (NED)
2. 1,285 Sylvain Andre (FRA)
3. 1,255 Joris Daudet (FRA)
4. 1,020 David Graf (SUI)
5. 955 Joris Harmsen (NED)

American Corbin Sharrah – the 2016 World Cup seasonal champ – ranks sixth with 940 points. The entire top 10 in the rankings is entered in Manchester.

Among the women, the defending World Cup champ is Dutch star Laura Smulders, who won for the third season in a row. Saya Sakakibara (AUS) was second, ahead of Judy Baauw (NED). The current world rankings:

1. 1,830 Laura Smulders (NED)
2. 1,261 Judy Baauw (NED)
3. 1,195 Saya Sakakibara (AUS)
4. 1,085 Natalia Afremova (RUS)
5. 1,045 Alise Willoughby (USA)

Colombia’s Mariana Pajon, the 2013 and 2015 World Cup champion (and a three-time World Champion), is back from injury and if she is right, is going to be a factor.

Look for results here.

The 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season gets going with a Downhill event in Maribor (SLO) on Saturday (27th).

Amaury Pierron (FRA) won the men’s title last year over Danny Hart (GBR) and Troy Brosnan (AUS), his first career World Cup seasonal title, ending a three-year streak for American Aaron Gwin. The UCI world rankings heading into Maribor:

1. 1,288 Danny Hart (GBR)
2. 1,270 Amaury Pierron (FRA)
3. 1,111 Troy Brosnan (AUS)
4. 1,020 Loris Vergier (FRA)
5. 988 Loic Bruni (FRA)

In the women’s division, Rachel Atherton (GBR) completed her comeback from a bad crash in 2017 and take her sixth career title, with five within the last seven years. She finished ahead of Tahnee Seagrave (GBR) and Tracey Hannah (AUS); Seagrave finished second for the second year in a row and Hannah won the seasonal bronze for the third straight year. The women’s world rankings:

1. 1,686 Rachel Atherson (GBR)
2. 1,540 Tahnee Seagrave (GBR)
3. 1,500 Tracey Hannah (AUS)
4. 1,219 Monika Hrastnik (SLOL)
5. 980 Miryam Nicole (FRA)

This is the first of 10 stops on the 2019 tour; next up is Albstadt (GER) for the opening Cross Country World Cups in mid-May. Look for results here.