With the Olympic debut of BMX Freestyle Park now less than 18 months away, Australia’s Logan Martin and Brandon Loupos have ramped up their preparations with a visit to the Australian Cycling Team Headquarters in Adelaide.
Having delivered the BMX High-Performance Program within Australia over the last twelve years as recognised by the Australian Olympic Committee and the UCI, Cycling Australia recently introduced a number of changes within its 2020-24 High-Performance Strategy.
In addition to solidifying the BMX Supercross program, a select number of BMX Freestyle Park athletes were identified as medal potentials and subsequently are now supported by individual scholarships.
BMX Freestyle Park, which makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, is an adrenaline-fuelled mix of tricks and jumps taking place over a series of ramps and large obstacles within a 30mx50m park. Athletes complete two one-minute runs each, with judges scoring on difficulty, originality, style, flow, risk, height and execution of tricks.
Australia’s athletes have excelled in the format in recent years with Logan Martin, claiming the inaugural World Championships in 2017, while Brandon Loupos won World Championships bronze in 2018. The pair has medalled at numerous World Cup events over the past few seasons, while also standout performers on the lucrative X-Games circuit.
Along with Australian Cycling Team BMX Technical Director Wade Bootes, Martin and Loupos visited the Australian Cycling Team training base in Adelaide to meet performance coaching, support and operational staff.
The visit included one on one meetings with Strength And Power Coach Scott Baker, Nutritionist Jill Leckey, and Team Doctor Mark Fisher. Martin and Loupos also swapped their BMX bikes for Argon track bikes for a track session with sprint world champion Matthew Glaetzer, while also working out in the gym with the men’s track endurance squad.
For Martin, the visit was a realisation of the high-quality resources and support network available to all Australian Cycling Team athletes.
“It is super cool to catch up on knowledge and experience this place has to offer, we've certainly got all the resources we need to be at the top of our games,” said Martin.
“We have an exciting journey ahead over the next 16 months, and we will be keeping in contact to ensure I can stay at my peak performance.”
Loupos was equally taken back by the welcome into the program and the wider cycling Australian Cycling Team family.
“This place speaks for itself, the gym and athletes are great, a great positive vibe,” echoed Loupos. “I was welcomed by all the great staff, meeting all the track guys was a cool experience.
“As we move towards Tokyo, it is only going to get better and more positive and breed success.”
Australian Cycling Team BMX Technical Director Wade Bootes is excited about the difference the support network will have on the athletes as they fine-tune their Olympic preparations.
“It is a great opportunity to have the freestyle guys here at the Australian Cycling Team training facility in Adelaide, to see the support network and different aspects that will make a difference to them in competition,” Bootes said.
“We look forward to exploring different things, going deeper and focussing what each athlete needs going into Tokyo.”
Siblings Saya and Kai Sakakibara celebrated victory at the 2019 Oceania BMX Championships in Te Awamutu, New Zealand.
"I hadn't raced for three months or so, I was a bit shaky at the start, so it was nice to bring it all together in the final," said Saya who took the lead on the first turn and held it to the finish line.
"Last year I missed out on the Oceania Championships because I was away overseas competing, so compete against my all time idol [Sarah Walker] and all the other amazing competitors from Australia and New Zealand it was the icing on the cake to take the win today.
In a closely fought men's final, Sakakibara chased down Brandon Te Hiko (Australia) in the closing metres to take the title.
"I’m very happy to begin the year with a win at the Oceanias," said Kai. "I didn’t have huge expectations as the event fell right in the middle of my off season training block, so it was great to still come away with a solid win."
The pair will now head back to their training base on the Gold Coast as they begin preparations for the World Cup season which begins in April.
Results | Event Website
"With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games less than 600 days away, Cycling Australia (CA) continues its Australian Cycling Team program support for Track, Para-cycling, BMX and Road athletes.
The Podium, Podium Ready and Podium Potential programs encompass 60 athletes (male and female) within the following disciplines: 20 Track, 12 Road, 6 BMX (Supercross and Freestyle), 22 Para-cycling.
“Our ‘What will it take to win’ performance plan creates a clear athlete pathway that is designed to maximise Australia's chances of Podium performances at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at World Championships and Commonwealth Games ” said Simon Jones, Cycling Australia’s Performance Director and key driver of the Australian Cycling Team strategy.
Over the past twelve months, Australia celebrated half a dozen world titles and dozens of medals in Olympic and Paralympic events across the Track, Road, BMX and Para-cycling (Road and Track) disciplines.
In 2018, new athletes were welcomed into the program including dual para road world champion Emilie Miller, road world championship representatives Lucy Kennedy and Jack Haig, plus track athletes Macey Stewart and Kristina Clonan. Road cyclists Luke Durbridge, Callum Scotson and Rachel Neylan exited the program.
“The Australian Cycling Team’s athlete classification system is demonstrating its robustness in identifying and supporting the right blend of athletes with the skill, experience, capability and potential to be the world’s best,” Jones added.
“We have also committed significant resources to the athlete pathway, which is vital to our future success.
“In November we saw that commitment come to life with the commencement of the Podium Potential Track Academy which features 13 Endurance and Sprint athletes who have begun training in close proximity to the Australian Cycling Team in Adelaide.
“The Academy will provide these young riders with both a cycling and personal development experience that’s targeting the 2024 Olympic cycle.
Sydney’s Brandon Loupos capped a superb 2018 season by winning bronze in the BMX Freestyle Park final at the 2018 UCI Urban World Championships in Chengdu, China, on Sunday.
Loupos, who qualified second in Saturday’s semi-finals, scored 88.72 points in his first run in Sunday’s final. In his second run, Loupos' attempt at bettering his score ended when he put both feet on the ground.
18-year-old Justin Dowell (USA) took the gold after a producing a superb 92.20 point ride in his first run, which proved too strong for all other competitors. Kenneth Tencio Esquivel (Costa Rica) took the silver medal with his first run of 88.9 points.
“It feels great, I worked hard to get on the podium and after having a disappointing worlds in 2017 when I got tenth with a bad mistake, to come back this year with third, it feels really good,” said Loupos, who celebrated victory in the opening round of the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup in April and second in round two in May.
“I was aiming for the top spot and I thought I could have done it. But to have that little slip up in my first run, but to still get on the podium, it’s pretty awesome.”
Loupos narrowly edged countryman Jake Wallwork (88.6points) into fourth overall.
“I’m stoked! It feels amazing to make the top four at world champs, especially coming off a win last week,” said Wallwork, who won gold at the final round of the World Cup Series held one week before the World Championships. “Last year it was all a bit new, it was different, but this year I knew what to expect, I trained my backside off and I came into this event strong.”
BMX Freestyle Park debutant Caroline Buchanan finished twelfth overall after she was unable to start the finals due to a crash in practice in which she sustained a dislocated and broken finger.
“I was hoping to end the year on a bit more of a high, but hopefully I’ll back riding soon,” said Canberra’s dual BMX racing Olympian and eight-time world champion, who continues her recovery after an off-road vehicle accident outside of Canberra in December forced her off the bike for six months. “This year is all about resilience building.”
Gold Coast’s Kyle Baldock, who won silver at Sydney’s X-Games in October, crashed in his opening runs and missed out on a finals berth. Reigning world champion Logan Martin, who claimed the first-ever rainbow jersey on offer in the discipline in 2017, was forced to withdraw after injuring his ankle during training in October.
Australia’s best now turn their focus to the inaugural Freestyle BMX Nationals which is set to thrill fans at Melbourne’s Rampfest from 23-24 November 2018, which offers the first green and gold jersey on offer in the discipline.
Following his scorching end to the season, Melbourne’s Wallwork is keen for a strong showing on his home track.
“Ahead of nationals, I’m feeling great. It’s on my home ground, and I’m excited to try and get that green and gold jersey.”
The second edition of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships gets under way in Chengdu, China, this week (November 7-11).
Look out for the Aussies in action - Brandon Loupos, Jake Wallwork, Caroline Buchanan and Kyle Baldock!
Sydney's Loupos celebrated victory in the opening round of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup, while Melbourne's Wallwork claimed the win in the Series' final round last weekend.
Gold Coast’s Baldock took silver last month at the Sydney X-Games, while Australia’s Queen of BMX Buchanan was been selected following her ninth place at the Freestyle World Cup in China on the weekend.
The Gold Coast’s reigning world champion Logan Martin, who claimed the first-ever rainbow jersey on offer in the discipline in 2017, was forced to withdraw after injuring his ankle during training in October.
Catch Sunday's Finals live via the UCI BMX Freestyle Facebook page or via UCI Youtube channel.
Visit the official 2018 Urban Worlds website at www.urbanworlds.cn
Australia’s Queen of BMX - Caroline Buchanan - has been selected to represent Australia at the 2018 UCI Freestyle Park World Championships following her 9th place at the Freestyle World Cup in China on the weekend.
It was an outstanding freestyle debut for Buchanan, who is better known as a world-class BMX racer, as she dips her toe into the freestyle world after suffering life-threatening injuries following an off-road vehicle accident outside of Canberra last December.
“It’s an absolute honour to qualify for my first Freestyle BMX World Championships’’, said Caroline Buchanan.
“Like any great flight you have to buckle down for the turbulence on the way up and I had some crashes over the course of the practice sessions as I was learning my lines and tricks.
‘’Importantly to me, this makes it my fourth cycling discipline world championship I have competed in over the past ten years having already competed at 4cross and downhill mountain biking, and BMX racing.”
About the UCI Urban World Championships
The UCI Urban Cycling World Championships will be held from 5-11 November 2018. The event is the world championship events for freestyle park BMX, cross-country eliminator, and trials. In 2018 the event will be held in Chengdu, China and is organised by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of world cycling.
Dual Olympian, Caroline Buchanan will try her hand at a new discipline of cycling when she competes in the final round of the 2018 UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup in China from 2-4 November.
Last December, Buchanan suffered life-threatening injuries including a broken nose, sternum, two collapsed lungs and bleeding around her heart following an off-road vehicle accident outside of Canberra. The accident forced her off the bike until July where she claimed the win in just her second race back at the Rockshox Pump Track Challenge in Canada.
"It has been quite a challenging year for me, most of my years have been an athlete focus," said the 28-year-old, who married her longtime partner Barry Noble in the USA last month. "2018 has been a human focus; life and health have taken priority."
"I have never had six months off the bike before, so the challenge for me this year was all about being patient, sit through injuries and recover."
In true Buchanan style, when faced with one challenge, the best response is to take on another. The Canberran has taken up Freestyle BMX, an exciting new discipline of the sport which sees cyclists perform a series of tricks and jumps across a ramp-filled course.
"I love a challenge, I have pelted in a straight line for 22 years of my life, so for me to step away from being a racer into freestyle, to have to learn aerial awareness, to taking my hand off my handlebar for the first time in twenty years, to learning the tricks and the backflips," Buchanan explained.
"It has been quite a rewarding journey, it has taken me back to that five-year-old girl when I started riding my bike, every day was a win.
"I have small wins each day to take away, not only in my comeback, to continue to build where I need to be, back in the racing world."
The change of disciplines isn't new for Buchanan whose eight world titles are comprised of mountain biking and BMX. However, she believes it was her car accident in December that has given her the resolve to take on the new challenge.
"Any time I have stepped off the racing path I have always been on two wheels, but I have always been on dirt," she explained. "This is still two wheels, but a very different environment, learning metal coping, concrete, being on wood.
"I am going from a sport where you might crash one or two times a year, to one where you may crash 10-20 times a session when you're learning, it has built resilience, and I smile through the journey and continue the personal progression.
"I wouldnât have been able to do this before the accident, but coming back from my injury, it has pushed me. It has strengthened me to know what my body can sustain. I know I am never going to get that injury on a bike, so that has given me the confidence to step into this new world."
Buchanan's progression has been rapid, with her competition debut set for November 2 at the 2018 UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup.
"I was nervous to sign up," Buchanan revealed. "I am completely stepping out of my comfort zone. I think it has been rewarding as an eight-time world champion in different disciplines of cycling, but to put the 'L' plates on again, to learn, to come in as an underdog, it is exhilarating."
While Buchanan is dipping her toe into the discipline which is set to make its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, there is no denying the dual Olympian's goal for the Games.
"I went to London, I went to Rio, and my goal is to go to Tokyo for racing," Buchanan asserted. âRacing is my bread and butter. I'm competitive, I love racing, for me that is first and foremost.
"I have always treated mountain biking as a bonus, it has always been my refresh button, it has kept longevity for me in the sport. So I see BMX Freestyle as that, a refresh and for diversity."
Regardless of which form she chooses, Buchanan is excited about what lies ahead for her in her newly elected discipline.
"What you can see you can't be," she added. "The scene is evolving for women and girls now. We have seen the expansion of all action sports into the Olympics, we have the first nationals coming up soon and would hope that is the first opportunity for women.
"I have taken a passion and would love to see more girls get involved."
Photos - Con Chronis
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.”