Rio Olympian Anthony Dean grabbed a podium appearance at the sixth round of the 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup podium in Heusden-Zolder, Belgium.
After falling from his bike during Saturday's quarter-finals of round five, Dean redeemed himself magnificently with third place in the finals behind World Cup leader and double weekend winner, Nick Kinmann and Joris Daudet.
Returning from injury surrounding muscle damage in his quad, Dean has been working tirelessly in his San Diego home and he is pleased to see that his plans with his coach Wade Bootes is paying off.
“Anthony’s performance today was on task, he had clear intent and delivered to the plan,” Bootes said.
“Anthony has demonstrated today that he is on track and will continue to work hard and focus on the key elements to be the best rider for the 2018 World Championships in Baku.”
Joining Dean in the men’s final was fellow Australian Cycling Team member Kai Sakakibara who finished in fourth in a heavily contested race. Sakakibara now sits eighth on the overall standings while Dean has moved into 14th.
With two weekends of back-to-back world cup racing over, the Australian team now set their sights on the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan on June 5-9. The biggest event on the international BMX calendar this year will have all riders battling it out for the top spot.
The conclusion of the World Cup series will make its final weekend stand at Santiago Del Estero, Argentina on September 29-30. The current standings for the men and women’s elite class are below
For the third time in four 2018 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup rounds, Saya Sakakibara has found the podium with the NSW rider finished third at the fourth round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Series in Papendal, the Netherlands, this morning.
Only the might of reigning world champion Alise Willoughby and hometown hero Judy Baauw was enough to stop the 19-year old who is on her debut in the elite fields.
With two bronze medals and a silver to start the 2018 World Cup series, Sakakibara sits comfortably in second place on the overall standings 450 points with ladder leader Laura Smulders only 100 points in front.
“I came in today with the same sort of mindset from yesterday and that was just to have fun,” Sakakibara said. “In the final I was able to get into second place around the track and I kind of messed up the last straight which cost me, but I am really happy I finished third, it was an awesome weekend and I’ve learnt so much.”
Siblings Saya Sakakibara and Kai Sakakibara (NSW) and 2016 Olympic Games finalist Anthony Dean (SA) headline the Australian Cycling Team selections for the 2018 UCI BMX (Supercross) World Championships to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, in June.
It has been a dream start to Saya Sakakibara’s maiden season in the elite ranks with dual podium appearances at the opening two rounds of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup Series, in addition to gold and silver at the European Cup.
“Being first year, I really had no expectations of my results and wasn’t sure how I would be riding, especially being thrown into the European and World Cup circuits,” explained Sakakibara, 18, who chose to focus on completing her final year of high school in 2017 rather than contest the international circuit.
“It was a big shock to be able to make it onto the podium in the first two rounds of the World Cup, and the podium in the European rounds as well.
“But my start to 2018 has built my confidence and I will definitely be taking this into Worlds. It has shown me I can be on the podium at every event,” added Sakakibara.
Like his sister Saya, Kai Sakakibara will be taking confidence into the World Championships following a solid off-season program at his Australian base and a full program of racing the World and European Cups which has netted a number of top ten finishes.
Kai also boasts an added advantage after completing a reconnaissance trip to Baku last week with Saya, Anthony Dean and Australian Cycling Team BMX Technical Director Wade Bootes for a test run of the World Championship course.
“2018 has been pretty good for me so far, I have been working on my strength and making alterations to my bike set up. I’m definitely in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” said Sakakibara, who grabbed a podium finish in the opening round of the European Cup in March.
“I’m aiming for a podium result at Worlds, but ultimately my goals are to produce my best possible result on the day by executing my own routine.”
Saya and Kai will now set their sights on fine-tuning their World Championship preparations at the next two UCI World Cup rounds in the Netherlands and Belgium in May.
Joining Dean and Sakakibara in the men’s team is 2018 national champion Brandon Te Hiko (VIC), Max Cairns (VIC), Shane Rosa (SA) and Andrew Hughes (NSW).
Two-time Olympian Lauren Reynolds (WA), reigning national champion Erin Lockwood (QLD), Sara Jones (QLD), and 2016 national champion Leanna Curtis (NSW) round out the elite women’s selections.
“We have selected a team that we believe has a mix of potential and performances,” said Simon Jones, Performance Director, Cycling Australia. “We are confident that we have the talent to challenge for podium performances in all disciplines.
“We wish all the riders the very best in Baku.”
The junior selections feature 2018 national champions Nathaniel Rodway (NSW) and Ashlee Miller (NSW), and Queenslanders Izaac Kennedy, Kye Affoo, Kyle Hill and Edan Whitlock.
Australia’s team will be joined in Baku by a further 89 “Challenge Class” riders who range from seven to 62 years of age.
The 2018 UCI BMX World Championships take place from June 5-9 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Australian Team for 2018 UCI BMX World Championships
For more information, visit the official Baku2018 website.
Australian Cycling Team's Saya Sakakibara has opened the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup season with two podium appearances at the opening round in France.
Sakakibara grabbed bronze in round one and backed it up with silver in round two in on the Saint-Quentin-En-Yvelines track.
“I am feeling very excited and so tired,” Sakakibara said post race. “I’ve had two big weekends of racing. But also two podiums from two world cups and that’s great, it’s very awesome.
“My start in the final today was a good one, and I was able to come from lane three to the inside of the track into third spot, then grabbed second at the first corner. I was catching Laura down the last straight and thought I might try for that first place spot, but I was a bit short.
“I am extremely happy with that silver medal place!”
Australia is celebrating its newest world champion with Brisbane's Logan Martin crowned the inaugural BMX Freestyle world champion at the 2017 UCI Urban World Championships on Sunday. Results
"Its amazing to win the first one (rainbow jersey) on offer in the discipline," said Martin, the 2015 and 2016 World Series champion who last week secured second overall for the 2017 season.
"It wasn't a bad season for me in 2017, I did get a lot of seconds, but to finish off the year here with a first at the world championship, it is unbelievable."
BMX Freestyle is an exhilarating form of cycling which sees riders perform a series of tricks during a number of ‘runs’ (in qualifying, semi finals and finals) on a ramp-filled course with points awarded based on difficulty, originality, style and execution. (UCI History of BMX Freestyle).
On Saturday, Martin finished on top of the semi finals with an average of 91.71 points across two blazing semi final runs.
On Sunday, he went even better with two almost flawless 93-plus point rides to take the rainbow jersey.
"Every time I ride the event, it is based on consistency, they really crack down on putting a foot down or crashing, so my goal is to stay on my bike whenI come into a contest and I did that today so I am stoked," Martin said.
"For both my runs today, I did exactly what I planned to do. You can't put those feelings into words when everything you plan and work hard for pays off like this.
"This is an insane feeling."
Martin's win is a perfect start to his run at a spot on the Australian team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following the IOC's decision to add the sport to the program.
"I can’t wait til Tokyo," Martin added. "I will certainly be putting in the work to hopefully be there in 2020.
"Like it was this week with the Australian team, it is such a great feeling to represent your country."
Sydney's Brandon Loupos, who finished second behind Martin in Saturday's semi finals, finished in tenth overall.
Loupos looked strong in his opening run with the fourth best score, but his chance at a podium finish was hampered following an injury to his shoulder after a crash in his second run.
Cycling Australia (CA) is proud to announce the Australian Cycling Team. The name ‘Australian Cycling Team’ will now be used to encompass the national squad athletes, coaches and performance support staff, previously branded the CA High Performance Unit, or HPU.
The 55-strong group of Olympic and Paralympic cycling discipline athletes will receive program support for Track and Para, and Individual Athlete Performance Support (IAPS) for Road and BMX, and form the core group from which CA launches its Tokyo 2020 attack.
Meet the Athletes: Track | Road | BMX | Para-cycling
Athletes named in the Australian Cycling Team have achieved, or have the potential to achieve, success at the highest level and are acknowledged and supported under the Australian Sports Commission’s athlete categorisation guidelines as Podium Potential or above. Specifically, the team consists of 22 Track athletes, 15 Para (Track & Road), 13 Road and five BMX athletes (4 Super-cross and 1 Freestyle), with an Olympic and Paralympic event focus.
CA’s Performance Director, Simon Jones, said that the new name (Australian Cycling Team) explains more simply what we are, and what we are about, and provides a clear destination for those further down the athlete pathway to aspire towards.
“The Australian Cycling Team is a group of world-class athletes who have achieved success at the highest level, or who are on their way, with huge potential. Being part of the team means that they will be supported with the best possible coaching and performance support they need to achieve their goals.
“Underpinning the team is our national high performance network of state institutes and state bodies, which will continue to play a key role in the athlete pathway by identifying and supporting a further 74 Emerging and Developing international athletes with the objective of preparing them for a successful progression into the Australian Cycling Team, based at the Adelaide Super-drome.”
Athletes in the Australian Cycling Team may receive a range of individualised performance support services, such as:
Athletes can also receive financial support from the AOC Medal Incentive Fund, which is performance-based funding following podium performances in Olympic disciplines at identified benchmark competitions
Jones said it was important to note that inclusion in the Australian Cycling Team does not provide automatic selection to World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Olympic or Paralympic teams.
“Those opportunities still have to be earned, according to the respective discipline selection criteria” Jones said.
“We want a supportive yet challenging environment that sees athletes reaching their potential and achieving their goals and dreams. We want a system that provides upward pressure for limited places in the Podium categories from the athlete pathway which is supported by our state institutes and state sporting body partners that make up the High Performance Network, and by BMXA and MTBA.
The new Australian Cycling Team provides a clear destination for the Emerging and Developing athletes in the high performance network to aspire to be part of the next generation of champions.
The announcement of the team has been supported by the release of a number of new documents and collateral, and a dedicated Australian Cycling Team website.
The Performance 1st summary sets out the team’s gold medal targets, and the performance and operational support that the athletes will have access to.
The Australian Cycling Team High Performance Plan provides a one-page summary of the key elements of the Australian Cycling Team Strategy 2020 – 24, delivered by Simon Jones in October 2017. A dedicated website features profiles of the selected athletes along with updated Australian Cycling Team Discipline Specific Selection Criteria for all the key events of the year, including timelines for selection period, appeals process and team announcements.
CA’s Australian Cycling Team Strategy 2020 – 24 prioritises resources into Olympic and Paralympic cycling events and athletes with the desire and capability to perform at a world-class level. Aside from any funding or investment obligations, the Olympics and Paralympics are the world’s biggest multi-sport events and give us the chance to inspire and capture the imagination of a huge audience, including the future stars of our sport.