UCI BMX Racing World Cup Papendal Round 4. Sunday 25 June 2023. French domination in Elite Men continues. Shriever confirms form in Elite Women. Sturiska and Bearman rule U23 classes.
Hot, hotter, hottest. The 1-month drought had turned the green Papendal grass into a brown-ish scenery. The little rain on Thursday could not turn the grass back to green. Friday it was hot. Saturday it was hotter and during Sunday’s UCI BMX Racing World Cup it was the hottest. Airco’s, fans, tents, umbrella’s, parasols, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, and coolvests were all very popular products, especially on the last day of the race. But you know what? The conditions were the same for all so it was task to make it work for yourself.
After spending a week on the track with official practice on Friday and a full race on Saturday, the day started at 8am on Sunday. In fact, at that time, the weather was nice, with no wind and a nice 20-degree temperature. This turned into 32-degrees real soon. That’s when racing became a challenge.
Once again the French looked strong in Elite Men. 5 out of 8 of the 1/8th finals were won by French riders. It was an indication of what was to come later on.
Saturday’s top 4 in Elite Women had all won their Round 1 race. The Smulders sisters scored a win each, Saya Sakakibara won her round as did Mariana Pajon who had been looking strong all week. The 5th qualification round was won by Bethany Shriever (GBR) who had dropped back to 3rd in the UCI BMX Racing World Cup standings after Saturday’s race but was ready to turn that around for Sunday. Later on Shriever and Sakakibara won the semi-final races taking Merel Smulders with them as the only Dutch representative. In Elite Men Niek Kimmann showed his strength winning semi-final 1 while Joris Daudet proved his better form than Saturday advancing to the final in 1st as well taking Jaymio Brink (NED) and Dave van der Burg (NED) with him. It will be 3 French, 3 Dutch, a Colombian and a Brit (Paddy Sharrock!) racing the final race of the day.
Michelle Wissing had looked great in the U23 Women class hoping to give the Dutch crowd a win in the final. A bad start had her start at the back of the pack to finish 7th. Up front it was Veronika Sturiska (LAT) who proved once again she’s unbeatable when she gets in the lead. The Latvian athlete is strong and will be a threat in the Elite class once she makes the move. She doubled at Papendal.
Women U23 results Round 4
1) Veronika Sturiska (LAT)
2) Tessa Martinez (FRA)
3) Aiko Gommers (BEL)
With 3 out of 3 wins Rico Bearman (NZL) was the man to beat in U23 Men. He chose lane 1 on the gate and when it dropped his task was to leave everyone behind. The New Zealander did just that also making Papendal a double for him. Holland’s Casper Pipers was in 5th in the last turn but made an incredible final sprint to the front to almost grab 2nd away from Yuichi Masuda (JPN) but had to settle for bronze which still put a big smile on his face.
Men U23 results Round 4
1) Rico Bearman (NZL)
2) Yuichi Masuda (JPN)
3) Casper Pipers (NED)
With a program where things were happening quickly, the Elite Women final had already lined up on the gate. From the outside this time it was red plate holder Bethany Shriever with the holeshot. Lane 8 worked for the Brit as she took off with Saya Sakakibara in second and Alise Willoughby in 3rd. Alise unclipped but Zoe Claessens could not profit from her mistake and she held on to 3rd till the finish line. The win is a big confidence boost for Bethany going into the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow this summer.
Women Elite results Round 4
1) Bethany Shriever (GBR)
2) Saya Sakakibara (AUS)
3) Alise Willoughby (USA)
Lane 8 for Niek Kimmann in the final with prodigy Jaymio Brink lining up on gate 7 right next to the Olympic champ. But instead of a Dutch party it turned out the French were ready to destroy it. Joris Daudet grabbed the lead and did not look back. Sylvain André made the French BMX domination complete with a second and a very happy Mateo Carmona Garcia (COL) completed the podium at Round 4. Kimmann had to settle for 4th.
Men Elite results Round 4
1) Joris Daudet (FRA)
2) Sylvain André (FRA)
3) Mateo Carmona Garcia (COL)