The U.S. was already one of the favorites for medals in the new BMX Freestyle Park events added to the Tokyo program for the 2020 Olympic Games. The American squad underlined that by winning both the men’s and women’s BMX Freestyle Park events and sweeping the women’s medals at the second UCI World Urban Championships in Chengdu, China.
Hannah Roberts of the U.S. was the favorite coming into the event as the defending champion and winner of the seasonal World Cup series. But the leader after the first of two rounds of rides was 23-year-old Perris Benegas, who was fourth at the Chengdu World Cup just a week before the World Championships. She scored 86.20 to 85.20 for Roberts and 83.20 for American Angie Marino.
In the final round, Marino moved into the lead at 87.80 and Roberts passed Benegas for second with an 86.20 score. But Benegas unleashed a perfect series of tricks to score 93.00 and win the gold easily (shown above in the center, with Marino to the left and Roberts on the right).
“I wasn’t happy with my first run today, and I had to do better in the second,” Benegas said afterwards. I was the last to go and it was special to have that sense of expectation. It’s great to have an all-American podium too.”
The U.S. had more in the tank for the men’s competition, too. In the first round of the finals, 18-year-old Justin Dowell popped a brilliant ride for a 92.20 score that was going to be hard to beat … and no one did.
Costa Rica’s Kenneth Tencio Esquivel and Australian Brandon Loupos were second and third after the first run with 88.90 and 88.72 points, but had to take big risks on the second run and neither was able to improve. It left Dowell, who had been 7th-13th-5th in the first three World Cups this season as the new World Champion.
“I just did what I’ve been doing in training,” he said afterwards. “I’ve been traveling the whole year, spending most of the season in Europe, and it’s paid off. I was flat out in the first run and it put pressure on my opponents. With Perris winning too, the USA are dominating the discipline, which means we can go to Tokyo in two years with hopes high.”
Indeed! The UCI World Urban Champs also included the Cross Country Eliminator and Trials disciplines and France won the overall medal count with eight. Summaries:
World Urban Championships
Chengdu (CHN) ~ 5-11 November 2018
(Full results here)
BMX Freestyle Park
Men: 1. Justin Dowell (USA), 92.20; 2. Kenneth Tencio Esquivel (CRC), 88.90; 3. Brandon Loupos (AUS), 88.72; 4. Jake Wallwork (AUS), 88.60; 5. Ben Wallace (GBR), 86.20; 6. James Jones (GBR), 84.60; 7. Daniel Sandoval (USA), 81.80; 8. Irek Rizaev (RUS), 81.40. Also: 10. Jeremy Malott (USA), 77.80; 11. Nick Bruce (USA), 36.40.
Women: 1. Perris Benegas (USA), 93.00; 2. Angie Marino (USA), 87.80; 3. Hannah Roberts (USA), 86.30; 4. Lara Lessmann (GER), 84.40; 5. Teresa Fernandez-Miranda (ESP), 84.20; 6. Nikita Ducarroz (SUI), 77.30; 7. Macarena Perez (CHI), 76.60; 8. Elizaveta Posadskikh (RUS), 74.90. Also: 9. Nina Buitrago (USA), 74.20.
Cross Country Eliminator
Men: 1. Titouan Perrin Ganier (FRA); 2. Hugo Briata (FRA); 3. Lorenzo Serres (FRA); 4. Jeroen van Eck (NED); 5. Alberto Mongorance Fernandez (ESP); 6. Simon Gegenheimer (GER); 7. Dominik Prudek (CZE); 8. Anton Olstam (SWE).
Women: 1. Coline Clauzure (FRA); 2. Iryna Popova (UKR); 3. Marion Fromberger (GER); 4. Anna Stray Rongve (NOR); 5. Ingrid Sofie Boe Jacobsen (NOR); 6. Ella Holmegard (SWE); 7. Marta Turobos (POL); 8. Clara Brehm (GER). Also: 10. Fairlee Frey (USA).
Men/20-inch: 1. Thomas Pechhacker (AUT), 230 points; 2. Ion Areito (ESP), 210; 3. Dominik Oswald (GER), 200; 4. Eloi Palau (ESP), 190; 5. Samuel Hlavaty (SVK), 160; 6. Lucien Leiser (SUI), 150.
Men/26-inch: 1. Jack Carthy (GBR), 240; 2. Sergi Llongueras (ESP), 220; 3. Nicolas Vallee (FRA), 220; 4. Vincent Hermance (FRA), 190; 5. Gilles Coustellier (FRA), 180; 6. Kenny Belaey (BEL), 150.
Women : 1. Nina Reichenbach (GER), 240 points; 2. Manon Basseville (FRA), 200; 3. Janine Jungfels (AUS), 180; 4. Irene Caminos (ESP), 160; 5. Perrine Devahive (BEL), 140.
Mixed Team: 1. Spain (Llongueras, Montalvo, Aran, Areito, Caminos), 580; 2. Germany, 560; 3. France, 520; 4. Switzerland, 440; 5. Sweden, 390; 6. Japan, 240; 7. Czech Republic, 210; 8. Austria, 190.