Frenchman Joris Daudet and Colombian rider Mariana Pajon are the new UCI World Champions of BMX Racing having come out on top at the finals in Medellin, Colombia at the weekend.
The race was the last before the riders face off in the Olympics BMX racing showdown in Rio de Janeiro in August, and will have London 2012 winner Pajon confident of defending her crown on the Olympic BMX track Brazil.
Pajon was ahead right out of the start gate in front of the home crowd, fending off Alise Post of the USA and Australian superstar Caroline Buchanan en route to her victory.
Joris Daudet had the inside line advantage on 2015 World Champion Niek Kimmann leaving the start gate, and managed to just about hold it to take the win, despite a tense final few moments where it looked like the Dutch Kimmann might just nick the win.
The French rider will be hoping he can see his current form through to Rio, where he’ll be looking to strip two-time Latvian gold medallist Maris Strombergs of his title as Olympic champion.
— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) May 30, 2016
Elsewhere, Team GB medal hope Liam Phillips was unable to make the BMX World Championship final in Colombia, being knocked out in the semi-finals along with Strombergs himself and Australian London 2012 silver medallist Sam Willoughby.
> Read the feature Liam Phillips interview
Phillips is renowned as a “holeshot specialist", meaning that when he gets out in front, he’s very hard to beat, but unfortunately he was unable to do exactly that in Colombia. After making it through the quarter-finals in third place, the Manchester-based athlete was close to grabbing a top-four place in the knockout round, but couldn’t better fifth and as a result did not qualify.
Though Phillips will no doubt be disappointed to have missed out on the chance to reclaim the World Championship title he won in 2013, we’re betting he’ll be glad to have made it through the event unscathed and buzzing to get training hard for his new main focus – the Olympic Games.
“Unfortunately I made a small mistake in the first race, one jump, and yesterday I alluded that it was going to be case of making no mistakes," Phillips told British Cycling.
“From then on I had outside lanes and although my first straights were really solid it was really wide open first turn and a lot of guys can come beneath you even if you are quite a way ahead.
“I knew the racing was going to be tough from that moment on but I was pleased with how I raced.
“I’m looking forward to getting home and doing some good work, building towards the big one in Rio."