Thursday, March 31, 2011

UCI BMX Supercross Season Opener in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Press release: Round One UCI BMX Supercross world cup 2011

UCI BMX Supercross Season opener in Pietermaritzburg RSA
31 March 2011 - The UCI BMX Supercross World Cup presented by SWATCH is the premiere BMX racing series in the world and serves as main qualification event for the 2012 Olympic Games. First round kicks off in Pietermaritzburg South Africa on 8 and 9 April. 104 Elite men and 38 Elite women are registered from 20 countries.

(picture UCI BMX Supercross / Craig Dutton)

Permanent BMX track in Pietermaritzburg
On Wednesday 30 March the first truckloads of ochre-red soil for the world class track arrived at Alexandra Park where the city’s mayor Mike Tarr was on hand to move the first sods into place. The permanent BMX track will sit alongside the Pietermaritzburg cricket oval and the cycling velodrome, and will provide an eagerly awaited year-round base for the BMX fans in the region.

“It’s our plan to take the whole area around Alexandra Park and turn it into a sporting precedent and this BMX track forms a part of that greater plan,” said mayor Tarr.

Once the BMX Supercross event is completed the track builders will reshape the course into a less challenging layout, better suited to local emerging and intermediate talent.

Preview Round One 2011
When all the action gets underway at Alexandra Park in Pietermaritzburg on 8 and 9 April all BMX fans will eagerly await who takes first blood of the season. With 485 days to go to the start of the London Olympics this is the time to make your mark and eventually qualify for the pinnacle event in BMX racing, the Olympic Games. See live video on freecaster

The runner up of last year’s World Championships, South African favorite Safizo Nhlapo will not compete due to a knee injury.

“It’s obviously very disappointing and it’s sad to have to go through something as serious as this just a year before the Olympics,” said Nhlapo. “I guess this comes with the sport though and it’s just part of being a professional.”

With the widely feared Latvian Maris Strombergs also being out of the Pietermaritzburg event many of these two Olympic finalists' nearest rivals will be eager to take advantage of this golden opportunity and get their seasons off on a positive note.

Marc Willers (NZL) will definitely be someone to keep en eye on. The flying Kiwi has been on a winning streak ever since his second place finish at the 2010 BMX Supercross finals in Frejus, France.

Sam Willoughby (AUS) is always a strong contender. The Australian was obviously very disappointed not winning the World Cup series last year and is now on a new mission.

Also keep an eye out for the large Dutch and French teams. Big teams wich are getting stronger by the day, with several experienced riders on the team, backed up with several young guns. Look out for the return of #666 Dutchmen Ivo van der Putten.

The battle for supremacy amongst Elite Women is going to be wide open this year. Last year’s overall World Cup winner Laetitia Le Corguille (France) and 2010 World BMX Champion Shanaze Reade (GBR) are not competing in South Africa, leaving the floor for Sarah Walker (NZL), Alice Post (USA), Mariana Pajon (COL), Eva Ailloud (FRA), Caroline Buchanan (AUS), Arielle Martin (USA) or last year’s Junior World Champion Merle van Benthem (NED) to name a few.
New Permanent BMX Supercross track opened in the Netherlands.
On 25th March an impressive crowd assembled in Papendal the Netherlands for the opening of a brand new BMX Supercross track. UCI president Pat McQuaid was present to open the challenging course designed and build by Tom Ritzenthaler.

(Picture FAT BMX)

Bas de Bever Dutch chief BMX coach was very pleased with this track. Other countries are invited to train in Holland too. Evil Ivo van der Putten (#666) considers it the most challenging track in the world.
See video in Dutch with Go pro helmet camera images.

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