CYCLING: Surprise home win for Whyte in BMX opener in Manchester

Surprise BMW World Cup winner Kye Whyte (GBR)

One of the great aspects of new seasons are athletes who emerge from prior years. Such was the case for Kye Whyte (GBR) in the opening races of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester (GBR).

The first men’s race (Saturday) was won by a familiar face: Joris Daudet (FRA), the runner-up to Niek Kimmann (NED) last season, as part of a French sweep, ahead of Jeremy Rencurrel and Sylvain Andre, the 2017 seasonal champion.

But on Sunday. It was Whyte who took the win over Kimman and Diego Arboleda Ospina (COL), with Andre fourth. For Whyte, it was his first-ever World Cup victory; he’s never finished higher than eighth before. He’s 19 and the current British national champ; a new contender for 2019?

The women’s winners were well known for BMX fans: Dane Simone Christensen, who finished third in the 2016 and 2017 World Cup seasons, and France’s Manon Valentino, seventh on the World Cup circuit in 2018, but who her first race since 2011! Christensen finished ahead of Dutch rider Judy Paauw, last season’s bronze medalist.

It’s an interesting start to the season; next up will be racing in Papendal (NED) in mid-May.

In the Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill opener in Maribor (SLO), three-time World Champion (2015-17-18) Loic Bruni (FRA) took the race in a tight finish with Britain’s 2011-16 World Champion Danny Hart.

The women’s race was a British 1-2, with Tahnee Seagrave, always a contender but the World Cup runner-up the last two seasons, managed a victory over six-time World Cup champ Rachel Atherton, with Tracey Hannah (AUS). Those three finished the 2018 World Cup season placing 2-1-3. Summaries:

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup
Manchester (GBR) ~ 27-28 April 2019
(Full results here)

Men I: 1. Joris Daudet (FRA), 27.839; 2. Jeremy Rencurel (FRA), 27.995; 3. Sylvain Andre (FRA), 28.117; 4. David Graf (SUI), 28.127; 5. Paddy Sharrock (GBR), 28.335.

Men II: 1. Kye Whyte (GBR), 27.868; 2. Niek Kimmann (NED), 28.523; 3. Diego Arboleda Ospina (COL), 28.982; 4. Andre (FRA), 29.027; 5. Alfredo Campo (ECU), 29.706.

Women I: 1. Simone Christensen (DEN), 31.314; 2. Judy Paauw (NED), 31.605; 3. Merle van Benthem (NED), 31.879; 4. Mariana Pajon (COL), 32.155; 5. Paola Reis Santos (BRA), 33.475. Also: 8. Felicia Stancil (USA), did not finish.

Women II: 1. Manon Valentino (FRA), 32.032; 2. Natalia Afremova (RUS), 32.289; 3. Ruby Huisman (NED), 32.621; 4. Alise Willoughby (USA), 33.153; 5. Sarah Walker (NZL), 33.306. Also: 6. Stancil (USA), 33.539.

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup
Maribor (SLO) ~ 27-28 April 2019
(Full results here)

Men/Downhill (1.94 km): 1. Loic Bruni (FRA), 2:58.839; 2. Danny Hart (GBR), 2:59.243; 3. Troy Brosnan (AUS), 2:59.603; 4. Charlie Harrison (USA), 2:59.767; 5. Matt Walker (GBR), 3:00.449. Also in the top 10: 6. Aaron Gwin (USA), 3:00.734; … 10. Dakotah Norton (USA), 3:01.890.

Women/Downhill (1.94 km) 1. Tahnee Seagrave (GBR), 3:25.888; 2. Rachel Atherton (GBR), 3:26.743; 3. Tracey Hannah (AUS), 3:28.526; 4. Marine Cabirou (FRA), 3:29.430; 5. Monika Hrastnik (SLO), 3:30.213.

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