The 2019 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup season has opened in Manchester England with mixed results for the Australian Cycling Team.
Saya Sakakibara, who finished second overall on the 2018 international rankings, unfortunately, crashed out of Saturday's opening round in the semi-final stage and was forced to miss Sunday's second round.
In a semifinal littered with some of the sport's biggest names including Olympic gold medallist Mariana Pajon, reigning world champion Laura Smulders and former world champion Alise Willoughby, Sakakibara crashed in the front straight on the first jump.
The Wollongong cyclist was knocked unconscious and was taken to hospital for tests but was later cleared of major injury. She ultimately finished 16th in the round and sat out Sunday's second round.
"In the semi, it was quite a stacked race, I lined up next to Mariana and Alise so it was quite the mental challenge at the start," Sakakibara, who is hoping to be ready for the next leg of the World Cup season in the Netherlands on May 11-12. "But I was able to do a good gate but got squeezed on the first jump and unfortunately went down, hitting my head, and blacked out a bit.
"Just looking to rest up and hoping to be fine for Papendal in two weeks."
In the men's competition, Adelaide's Anthony Dean and Wollongong's Kai Sakakibara progressed to the semifinals in both rounds.
Dean narrowly missed a final in round one after finishing fifth in his semifinal, before his second round campaign was cut short by after a mechanical.
"First World Cup of the season, I was having a great opening day, won some laps and rode my way into the semifinal," said Dean. "I had a great start, executed everything I needed to and went into the first turn in second but was ridden high and ended up being pushed into fourth and then got past right on the last straight for fifth.
"Then in round two, qualifying through the rounds ended up in the semifinal, I had a great gate state but had a mechanical error when my foot came out of the pedal, which disappointingly ended my day."
Cycling Australia is pleased to announce the athlete selections for the Australian Team for the 2019 UCI Junior Track World Championships (14-18 August, Frankfurt, Germany) and the 2019 UCI Junior Road World Championships (22-29 September, Yorkshire, Great Britain).
2019 Junior Track World Championships
2019 Junior Road World Championships
Jonathan Norfolk, Head of Performance Pathways and People.
"The Junior World Championships provides a privileged opportunity to represent Australia on the international stage and we are pleased to be able to select a number of athletes who have a genuine opportunity to challenge for a podium performance.
"The performance level at the Road World Championships is set very high and this is reflected in our selection criteria where the focus is on the ability of the athlete to achieve a podium performance at the World Championships as well as giving them an experience which will positively contribute to their long term development.
"This long term development of our up and coming athletes is our priority and we are invested in creating additional opportunities for meaningful endurance development through a number of European based road racing camps in those categories where the Road World Championships is currently not able to create this developmental impact.
"To all the athletes who have been selected, we wish you the best and hope you enjoy the honour of representing the green and gold."
The Australian Cycling Team is ready ahead of the 2019 UCI World Cup season which gets underway in Manchester on April 26.
Five countries will each host two rounds of the Series in 2019 the beginning in Manchester in April, before taking in stops in the Netherlands, France, USA and Argentina.
The 2019 World Championships will slot in between the French and USA rounds in July, with the 2019 season to offer all-important qualification points for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Saya Sakakibara shone while on her debut in the elite ranks in 2018, finishing second overall on the year-end international rankings claiming one World Cup win and four podium appearances, in addition to claiming sixth in her first elite career World Championship final.
"2018 was such a crazy season for me, I didn't expect any of the results," said Wollongong's Sakakibara, 19. "It has shown me it is possible to do it, now I understood where I am at against the rest of the field.
"Coming into 2019, obviously there is confidence I can take into the season, But it is a brand new year, there is probably another new group coming through, it is a pre-Olympic year so everyone is trying to get those Olympic points. It is going to be really competitive, even more than last year.
"But like last year, I will be taking it race by race, coming into it with no expectations. I plan to build on 2018, learn from mistakes that I make along the way, and continue to grow as an athlete."
With a valuable year of experience under her belt, Saya dedicated her Australian based summer offseason to strength and power program.
"At only 19, I am not as strong as the older girls in the elite class, so being in the gym three times a week was a priority over summer, working on my strength and power," said Sakakibara, who turns 20 in August. "Now it will be all about trying to convert that strength base into power and then on the bike.
Sakakibara opened 2019 with victory in the Oceania Championships and will be chasing the podium in Manchester.
"Always chasing the podium, Manchester is a tight track, it will be a new experience, tight racing, everyone is eager to put down good results to start the reason, going to be very competitive."
Kai Sakakibara celebrated his start to 2019 with victory in January's Oceania Championships and like sibling Saya, spent much of his summer deep in an offseason strength program.
"We have seen great improvements from October 2018 vs February 2019, my sprint times have improved, as well as my start Hill times at Brisbane SX track as well," said Kai. "Another focus for me was on marginal gains - this was in sleep, nutrition, recovery, as well as doing what I already do in training a little bit better.
"I think all of this combined has shown a huge bump in my performance compared to last year."
Adelaide's Anthony Dean will also line up in Manchester's opening round following a consistent 2018 where he grabbed a podium at the Belgium World Cup round, in addition to two top-five placings, and top ten at the World Championships.
"Heading into the 2019 season with high confidence and hopes," said Dean. "After finishing the final World Cup of 2018 in third, I have been setting my sights on the top step of the podium.
"I am coming into the 2019 season in my best shape and looking forward to racing in the venue I got my first World Cup podium in 2014."
As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games moves closer into view, Cycling Australia BMX Technical Director Wade Bootes is looking forward to another season.
"The Australian Cycling Team have clear individual performance plans for all riders as we embrace diversity to enhance the individual athlete by targeting key areas of support required by the support network we align within Australia and around the world.
"Simplifying the process and focusing on tasks and activities that will make an impact on performance."
2019 BMX Supercross Schedule - Riders contesting Round
More details at the UCI website: https://www.uci.org/bmx-racing/events/uci-bmx-supercross-world-cup âââ
Sydney's Brandon Loupos has opened the 2019 UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup season with victory in round one, with many hailing his winning run as the best ever seen at a BMX Freestyle Park event.
After crashing in his first final run in Hiroshima, Loupos fired in an insane second run which included a 1080, a double backflip, a 900 and a cashroll to score 95.80 points, the highest score ever recorded at a World Cup event.
"My score feels amazing and I couldn't be more blessed to get a score like that especially after crashing on the first run and giving the second run all I had, nothing feels better," Loupos said.
"It is pretty crazy to have people come up to me and say 'it's the best run of all time' because to me it's just important to land my planned run and to inspire others. My main goal is to honor Dave Mirra, the greatest of all time, and when people say that was the best run ever, it makes me think I'm considered to be worthy of Dave Mirra."
The win matched Loupos' efforts in the same round of the 2018 World Cup last April.
"It feels unreal. I'm in the same position as last year, but this year since I've already had more experience and more times staying at number 1, I definitely plan to keep it," added Loupos, the 2018 World Championship bronze medallist. "I have the maturity and experience now to work hard at home to maintain the number 1 position throughout year."
2017 world champion Logan Martin claimed third with 91.10 points on his first run which included a 4 tail whip combo, and a 540 flair right on the buzzer.
Logan Martin's run
The Australian Cycling Team is pleased to announce categorisation of athlete membership to the Para-cycling road and track program for 2019.
The categorisation follows the 2019 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships at which Australia finished second on the medal standings with a total haul of 17 medals including nine gold.
"I am very pleased to announce the Para-cycling Athlete Membership to the Australian Cycling Team for 2019," said Para-cycling Technical Director Warren McDonald.
"The depth across both disciplines of para-cycling is very promising for our campaign ahead of Tokyo 2020."
Members of the road program will depart Australian shores later this month for the opening two rounds of the UCI Road World Cup Series to be held in Italy and Belgium in May.
The team for the 2019 UCI Road World Championships, to be held in the Netherlands in September, will be announced on June 5.
Athlete Membership for 2019
The country’s best and brightest gathered at the Australian Cycling Team 'Women in Performance Track Cycling' Breakfast to discuss the challenges and opportunities within one of the most competitive sports in the country.
Held in conjunction with the recent Track National Championships in Brisbane, the breakfast was organised by Podium Potential Academy Sprint Coach Lynne Munro and hosted by National Manager of Communications Amy McCann.
The panel featured three generations of track cycling royalty including dual Olympic champion Anna Meares, four-time world champion Kaarle McCulloch and Australia’s first female Olympic sprint medallist Michelle Ferris.
Also attending the breakfast was a number of Australia's reigning world champion athletes in Amy Cure, Ashlee Ankudinoff, Alex Manly and Georgia Baker, Para-cycling Pilot Madison Janssen, UCI Commissaire Karen O’Callaghan, Cycling Australia director Linda Evans, plus a host of staff, sports scientists, state and institute coaches.
“A year and a half ago when I first came into the Australian cycling team, especially taking up a coaching position, I looked around and didn't see very many other women around,” explained Munro. “And because I knew the story that had gotten me there had its challenges, I wanted to make use of my position to leverage some change and accelerate the process.
“It is very easy for us now to think we are doing pretty good without actually reflecting on how we got there. We need to allow that knowledge and legacy of those that came before us to influence how we can shape the future.”
After spending time away from the sport following her retirements in the early 2000s, Australia’s first female Olympic medallist in track sprinting Michelle Ferris is excited to be back and a part of the discussions.
“I think it is time we get together as a group of female athletes and help support each other, I am not sure what the next step is but that is the challenge to all of us, past and present riders to keep momentum in cycling,” said Ferris, a dual Olympic medallist (1996/2000) and seven-time World Championship medalist.
“Getting more people involved at a support crew level, staff, commissaries, coaches, everything and if we work together, we have more chance of making a difference for women in sport.”
Four-time world champion and 2012 Olympic medallist Kaarle McCulloch took time out of her Nationals campaign to present a number of concepts and ideas to the attendees.
“Two of the key things I wanted to get across was the importance of environment, and how to cultivate a positive environment,” said McCulloch. “But also how do we keep girls in the sport.
“I have realised there is a whole multitude of things that we can do to get girls involved in the sport and more people in the cycling fraternity. And that comes down to creating better support systems for coaches and for when we find talent, where do they go and how can they thrive.”
For more information about how to get involved in cycling, please contact Cycling Australia.
Cycling Australia (CA) is pleased to announce Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy members Maeve Plouffe (SA), Alexandra Martin-Wallace (QLD), Samantha de Riter (VIC) and Sophie Edwards (SA) have been selected to take part in a winter road racing program in Belgium.
Four National Road Series (NRS) riders will join them in Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt Attaquer), Josie Talbot (Roxsolt Attaquer), Ruby Roseman-Gannon (St LukesHealth TIS Racing Team) and Anya Louw (St LukesHealth TIS Racing Team).
The riders will contest a combination of Belgian kermesses, Belgian and UCI criteriums, and one UCI four-day tour across July and August.
The program follows a successful partnership between CA and NRS teams in the 2019 Summer of Cycling which saw riders contesting the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, Deakin University Women’s Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and Lexus of Blackburn Women’s Herald Sun Tour.
Gigante stunned the field at the 2019 Road Nationals while also performing team roles during the Cadel’s Road Race and the HeraldSun Tour, while Talbot played a pivotal team role during the Tour Down Under as a leader both on and off the bike.
Roseman-Gannon’s international potential on the road shone with a top ten at Race Melbourne, while Louw’s displayed her character, skill and determination during her introduction into the elite ranks at the TDU and HST.
Launched by Cycling Australia in November 2018, the Podium Potential Academy focuses on long term athlete development with the current cohort aiming for success at the 2024 Olympic Games and beyond.
Since joining the Academy, Plouffe has claimed three national titles on the track and led the outfit to fifth in the team pursuit while on debut at the UCI Hong Kong Track World Cup in January while Martin-Wallace stormed to individual silver.
“The primary purpose of the program is to provide an international racing experience for Podium Potential Athletes and for emerging and developing athletes competing in the NRS,” said Donna Rae-Szalinski.
“This opportunity will provide a platform for the development of race skills, tactics and physiology required, as well as exposure to the lifestyle demands of international competition.”
National Road Series Riders
Josie Talbot (Roxsolt Attaquer)
Ruby Roseman-Gannon (St LukesHealth TIS Racing Team)
Anya Louw (St LukesHealth TIS Racing Team)
Sarah Gigante (Roxsolt Attaquer)
Australian Cycling Team Podium Potential Academy
Maeve Plouffe (SA)
Alexandra Martin-Wallace (QLD)
Samantha de Riter (VIC)
Sophie Edwards (SA)
Jul-14 GP Sofie Goos Borgerhout 1.15A
Jul-17 Arendonk 1.15A
Jul-18-21 Bene Tour UCI 2.1
Jul-19 Vrasene 1.15A
Jul-23 Zottegem-Strijpen 1.15A
Jul-26 Bambrugge-Erpe Mere 1.15A
Jul-27 St Maria-Lierde 1.15A
Jul-29 Boezinge WE UCI Crit
Jul-30 Kapellen 1.15
Jul-31 Antwerpen WE UCI Crit
Aug-01 Herentals Fietst WE UCI Crit
Aug-03 Erondeg Pijl (Erpe Mere) UCI 1.2
Australian Cycling Team athletes Logan Martin and Brandon Loupos are primed ahead of the start of the 2019 UCI World Cup season which gets underway in Japan on April 19.
An epic 2019 World Cup season includes stops in Japan, France and China, sandwiching a host of international C1 events including the lucrative X Games, before wrapping up with the World Championships in November.
Sydney's Loupos is looking to replicate his 2018 form which saw him bookend the year with career-best performances including gold in Japan's opening World Cup round before storming to bronze at the World Championships in November.
"2018 was definitely a great year for me and my best year so far in my BMX career," said Loupos who in unfortunate circumstances suffered a bike mechanical in round two and had his bike stolen just three hours before the final in round three. "But I'm looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has in store since I started the year off with three wins and keeping that momentum rolling will be key for 2019.
"My goal is obviously to win as that's what we're all there to do! It would be really cool to go back to Hiroshima, back up my win from last year and obviously start the World Cup series off strong!"
2017 world champion Martin opened 2018 with a broken collarbone which forced him to miss the opening round of the season. He recovered in time to contest the Series' second round in May where he finished second, before storming to a third-round win in July and gold in the BMX Park Final at the X-Games in the USA later that month. unfortunately, Martin broke his ankle in October, which meant he was unable to defend his world title.
"2018 was a roller coaster for sure, a few injuries throughout but also a few very high points in my career," said Gold Coast's Martin, who has no plans to play it safe in the adrenaline-filled discipline despite his run of injuries.
"My 2019 goals are to achieve more of these big wins, however with fewer injuries.
"But my goal is always to ride to the best of my ability at any event. Staying on my bike through my runs are always a large part of my focus but also not to play it too safe."
As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games moves closer into view, Cycling Australia BMX Technical Director Wade Bootes is looking forward to another season.
"While it is still a new discipline to UCI cycling, I am amazed by the work ethic shown by our Australian Cycling Team members, not only in their own development but the progression of the sport," Bootes said. "It is a pleasure working with such talented and committed athletes with a growth mindset towards performance."
2019 BMX Freestyle Season
Three rounds will take place in April, May and October in Japan, France and China, before the 2019 Urban World Championships wrap up the season in China in November.
More at the UCI website.
After a successful and satisfying 2019 Track World Championships, the Australian Cycling Team has reset and resumed its build up towards Tokyo 2020.
With less than 500 days until the Olympics, the following riders have been categorised for membership to the Australian Cycling Team in the 2019/2020 season.
After this extensive and always difficult review process it has been decided that two sprint athletes will not have their Australian Cycling Team membership renewed.
Those athletes are:
As part of our ongoing commitment to athletes well being, we are providing human resources and financial transition support to both men and our dedicated staff are available to guide them through their exit from the team.
The next major event for the Australian Cycling Team track members is the 2020 Oceania Championships in New Zealand in October, followed by the 2019/2020 UCI Track World Cup season which runs from November 2019 to January 2020, including round #5 in Brisbane, December 2019.
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