Changes to the Papendal BMX track should favour leading Kiwi rider Trent Jones for this weekend’s third round of the UCI Supercross World Cup.
The three-strong Cycling New Zealand team of Sarah Walker, Trent Jones and Matt Cameron have arrived in the Netherlands ready for practice tomorrow (local time), with racing set for Saturday and Sunday.
Organisers have made some major changes to the track at Papendal, which has been part of the World Cup circuit for the past five years.
“They have lost the ugly technical part of the track to make it more open which will make for better racing and suit the strengths of Trent,” said Cycling New Zealand BMX coach Ryan Hollows.
“Trent has been going well and has been on the verge of a breakthrough to a main final which hopefully will come this weekend.”
Hollows said the track will also suit the strong riding style of Matt Cameron who is an excellent power rider.
There is no pressure on Sarah Walker to ride this weekend, taking things day by day as she recovers from her fractured arm.
“She is strong and fit and every day she is getting better and better. But we need to see how she handles practice on the big jumps here. For Sarah, riding here is a nice to do but not a must-do. We won’t take unnecessary risks with the world championships next month.”
While New Zealand is currently in place to qualify one men’s spot for the Rio Olympics through their rankings, the women do not which means Walker will need to chase one of the remaining individual spots to be finalised at the world championships next month in Colombia.
One upside is that the weather is forecast to be fine, after the last two World Cups in Papendal have been plagued with inclement weather.
It is a track where New Zealand has had success before, with both Walker and retired double Olympian Marc Willers both winning the World Cup in 2011.
The final from quarterfinals stage onward will be broadcast on Sky Sport 4 from 1.30am NZ time.