New Zealand teenager Rico Bearman saved his best until last to claim victory in the under 23 men’s final of the UCI BMX Racing World Cup in Papendal, Netherlands today.
The North Harbour rider, who turns 20 next month, made it a perfect four wins from four finals this season, following his double-round win in Turkey with victories in both finals at the weekend in Papendal to further extend his World Cup lead.
Bearman was imperious today, building throughout his rides to protect his preferred No 1 gate. He saved his best for the final where he claimed the holeshot with an excellent gate, and rode the shorter jumps and berms to perfection to win in his fastest time of the day. He clocked 34.423s to claim victory by more than a second from Japan’s Yuichi Masuda with local Dutch rider Casper Piper third.
“I was consistent all weekend to get good gates, and going for the lap time every time and got the job done so I am super stoked,” said Bearman.
“It’s important to ride from the front but you can come from behind as you saw yesterday. I got a good gate in the final and there were no issues this time, so I am happy,” said Bearman who needed a photo finish to decide his win in the final on the first day, before a convincing victory today.
Bearman will head back to his base in USA for more pro racing, before returning for the UCI BMX Racing World Championships in Glasgow, part of the massive cycling occasion with 13 cycling disciplines staging world finals in Scotland over two weeks from early August.
The UCI World Cup action returns in September in France and finalised with two double-rounds in Argentina.
Attention will then turn to the all-important 2024 Olympic year, which will start with a double UCI BMX Racing World Cup round in Rotorua. It will be one of the key final qualifying events for Paris, with Bearman eyeing his Olympic opportunity with a move to the elite category.
“I am going to move up to the big guys by then (Rotorua World Cup) and hopefully I can run with the big dogs, so I will see.”
Rotorua rider Megan Williams, who earned her first World Cup podium of the season on day one, finished a strong fifth in the junior women’s final today.
The 19-year-old won her opening heat, placed third in her quarterfinal, fourth in the semifinal and fifth with a solid ride in the final, pushing through on the final two straights to be half a second off claiming her second straight podium.
Former national champion Michael Bias enjoyed his best outing this season in a blistering men’s elite competition, winning his qualifying moto, placing third in the first round and sixth in his quarterfinal, just missing out on going through to the semifinal.
Cambridge rider Rico D’Anvers rode his best World Cup today, making the semifinal in the junior men after wins in the first three rounds, and finishing seventh in his semifinal.
After excellent qualifying rides, the Greenough brothers Jack and Bennett from Cambridge both went out in the second round in junior men, while Baylee Luttrell and Cole McOnie both missed out in the Last Chance rounds for junior women and elite men respectively.
Attention now turns to the UCI BMX World Championships in Glasgow on 6-7 August.