Australian teenager Saya Sakakibara is celebrating after claiming the win in the final UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, which also secured second overall for the Wollongong cyclist on the year-end international rankings.
“I am so over the moon,” said Sakakibara, 19. “I am so incredibly grateful for my support, and for the Australian Cycling Team for supporting me all the way and giving me the opportunity to race each round this year, especially when I contested no World Cups last year."
Round 8 FInal
Santiago del Estero, Argentina, hosted the final two rounds of the season, with Sakakibara lucky to escape with just scrapes and bruises after spectacularly crashing out of the Round 7 semi-final on Saturday when a rider crashed and took her wheels from under her.
Recovering in time for Sunday’s eighth and final round, Sakakibara lead from the gate, and with former world champion Alise Willoughby (USA) and reigning world champion Laura Smulders (Netherlands) breathing down her neck, she surged to the victory with judges awarding the win to the Australian in a photo finish.
“I did not expect that (win) especially after yesterday crash, I was kind of shaken up a little bit and little fearful coming into today. However, I got a good start and an excellent first straight, and I was able to make it work all the way to the finish line.”
ROUND 7 SF CRASH
Sakakibara finished second behind world champion Laura Smulders (Netherlands) on the BMX Supercross rankings after a season that included one win and four podium appearances, in addition to claiming sixth in her first elite career World Championship final.
“My aim this year was to gain as much experience as possible, and I did exactly that. I was able to get some wins and podiums along the way, I couldn’t be happier with this season,” said Sakakibara, who will now head back to Australia to continue preparations towards Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“I am really looking forward to getting back into the offseason, gaining strength, and hopefully I will come back faster and definitely will have more confidence heading into next season.
“Every race is critical from now on in terms of Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020, and I will be aiming for the top, for the podium, all the way to the Olympics.
“I am working so hard to making sure I am going to be there.”
In the men’s finals, Rio Olympic finalist Anthony Dean took bronze in round eight.
Copyright Craig Dutton
Cycling Australia is pleased to announce the BMX Freestyle selections for the Australian team which will contest the 2018 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in China in November.
BMX ‘Freestyle Park’, which will make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, sees cyclists perform a series of tricks during their ‘1 minute run’ across a ramp-filled course. Riders’ tricks are judged based on difficulty, originality, style and execution.
The Australian team in China will be headlined by the Gold Coast’s Logan Martin who claimed the first-ever rainbow jersey on offer in the discipline in 2017.
2018 began ominously for Martin following a training crash in March which broke his collarbone in four places and forced him to miss the opening round of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup.
Martin 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.
“I’m stoked to have another opportunity to ride the UCI World Championship again this year and represent Australia,” said Martin, who currently sits fourth overall on the World Cup standings. “To have won the first-ever UCI BMX Freestyle World Championship last year was mind-blowing to me and I will most definitely be going for the gold medal again this year.
“I have had a rough start to the year, but my main focus was to get back to full strength leading into July’s World Cup and X-Games in which I won both Park events.
“It has been a much better start to the second half, and I’m feeling really good and strong on my bike. I’m looking forward to the next few events and to finish off the year strongly.”
Brandon Loupos celebrated victory in the opening round of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup, however, in unfortunate circumstances, the Sydney rider suffered a bike mechanical in round two and had his bike stolen just three hours before the final in round three.
The Gold Coast’s Kyle Baldock and Melbourne's Jake Wallwork round out the selections.
The 2018 UCI Urban Cycling Worlds Championships will take place in Chengdu, China, from 7-11 November 2018. More → www.urbanworlds.cn
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Australian Team - 2018 UCI Urban Cycling Worlds Championships
It has been an emotional, but successful comeback for Caroline Buchanan after the dual Olympian claimed the win in her first race back following her life-threatening crash in seven months ago.
Buchanan claimed the win at the Rockshox Pump Track Challenge at Whistler in Canada, her first race since she suffered a broken nose, sternum, two collapsed lungs and bleeding around her heart following an off road vehicle accident outside of Canberra last December.
"Last time I won was here, first time in 2018 I have won a major event, " said an emotional Buchanan after the win. "In one of my worst years, thanks to everyone who stuck behind me.
"This win meant a lot to me tonight."
WATCH the final
Reigning world champion Logan Martin stormed to win round three of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup in Edmonton.
Despite inclement weather forcing the qualifying and semi-final rounds to the same day, Martin was not fazed as he qualified in second on Saturday.
In Sunday's final, Martin was left in fifth overall after suffering a flat tyre during his first run. However, following a quick tyre change, he came back to shred his final run with a sensational 95.00 and take the win ahead of Marin Ranteš and Dennis Enarson.
“It was great to be back in Canada for the third stop of the FISE World Series," said Martin. "The weather played a bit of a factor during qualifying and semis, so my plan was to just stay on my bike and get through the Saturday and focus on Sunday's finals.
"I felt confident going into finals. In my first run, I cased and this caused me to finish the rest of my run with a flat tyre, but after a quick tyre fix, I was ready for my second run.
"At that moment, I felt some pressure because I had only this run left to do exactly what was needed to find the podium.
"But I kept calm and focused on what I needed to do to win. I managed to do exactly what I wanted to do and scored a 95 finishing the contest in first."
The win continues Martin's strong comeback after he missed April's opening round in China following a training crash that broke his collar bone in four places. His comeback race came in the Series' second round in France in May where he grabbed second place.
Martin is eyeing Olympic glory following the IOC's decision to add BMX Freestyle to the programme for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Visit www.fise.fr or follow FISE for all the World Cup updates.
Australia’s Saya Sakakibara claimed sixth in her first elite career World Championship final at the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.
An unfortunate incident in final saw the 18-year-old taken out by the bike of American Alise Willoughby who had crashed in front of her as the group made the second turn.
Credibly, Sakakibara got back on her bike and finished the race to take sixth place behind the all Dutch podium of Laura Smulders, Merel Smulders and Judy Baauw.
“I was coming about seventh and was able to do a really good move on the first corner and got myself into fifth but Alise (Willoughby) crashed in front of me and I ran into her bike,” Sakakibara explained.
“That ended things for me but I came away with a sixth which is pretty awesome.
“I was already happy just to be in the final. It’s all a learning experience for me so I’m stoked.”
In the men's, Anthony Dean finished ninth.
The Australian Cycling Team has arrived in Azerbaijan for the 2018 UCI BMX (Supercross) World Championships with siblings Saya and Kai Sakakibara (NSW) and 2016 Olympic Games finalist Anthony Dean (SA) confident following their European and World Cup campaigns.
For Saya Sakakibara, her maiden season in the elite ranks has netted triple podium appearances from the first six rounds 2018 World Cup Series, in addition to gold and silver at the European Cup.
“Definitely a great confidence booster coming into the World Championships,” Saya told Cycling Australia after her final training session in the Netherlands. “Heading into this season, being first year elite, I had no expectation of podiums, it was purely to learn and gain experience.
“It's humbling to think I'm up there with the best in the world already competing for spots on the podium.
“Although I may have a little more confidence, I just have to remember what mind set put me in that position in the first place and execute that exactly this weekend.”
Kai Sakakibara, Australia’s leading male rider in ninth on the UCI rankings, has enjoyed a consistent season with three top ten placings in the European Cup, and two at the most recent rounds of the World Cup in May.
“I came into season 2018 with strong expectations, but I have quickly learned it doesn’t get any easier, it is just as competitive as any other year,” said Kai, who with Saya, has based himself in Europe for much of 2018 to increase his exposure to racing.
“It has been fantastic being around this European racing environment week in week out, in the training environment everyday. Getting this experience under my belt and doing the races leading into the Championships has been invaluable,” said Kai, who finished 2017 ranked ninth.
“The fact that I have been able to maintain a high position in the rankings this season, to know I am consistently up there, definitely gives me confidence and a good chance of doing well at the Worlds as well.”
At the six and most recent World Cup in Belgium two weeks ago, Anthony Dean found the podium and is aiming for the final this weekend.
“(My) preparation has been really good leading into the World Championships, I have been down in San Diego getting lots of track time and work done, I’m excited and ready to go,” said Dean.
“Coming off the podium just three weeks ago in Belgium gave me a good push and I’m excited, confident and looking forward to the opportunity to show what I can do come finals Saturday.”
Reigning world champions Corben Sharrah (USA) and Alise Willoughby (USA), plus World Cup leaders Niek Kimmann (NED) and Laura Smulders (NED) will create a challenge the Australians in the battle for the rainbow jersey.
The 2018 UCI BMX World Championships take place from 5-9 June in Baku, Azerbaijan. For more information, visit the official Baku2018 website or watch the live stream.
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Complete Australian Team for 2018 UCI BMX World Championships
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.