The International Cycling Union (UCI) have announced they have added the BMX freestyle park discipline to their programme for the first time.
Cycling’s governing body will now hold a UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup starting in 2016, which will be part of the International Festival of Extreme Sports (FISE) World Series and will include three events between February and December, with an additional one planned for the following year.
It is hoped that this announcement will provide the springboard for a UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in two years’ time, which will incorporate disciplines such as mountain bike cross-country eliminator, as well as BMX freestyle park.
In order to help the sport develop, the UCI have enlisted the help of the Hurricane Company, who specialise in FISE events and slightly more urban forms of BMX riding.
“The integration of BMX freestyle park is excellent news for cycling, the UCI, its National Federations and for fans of our sport,” UCI President Brian Cookson said.
“The UCI’s strategy is to target cities for the organisation of major events where our own events will benefit from the conditions necessary to ensure their popular, media and economic success.
“The UCI will offer the discipline a high level of recognition, and will thus pursue the development of our sport by meeting the expectations of BMX fans.
“Thanks to this initiative, BMX freestyle park and cycling take another step in their continued globalisation.”
The UCI feel the sport of BMX freestyle park is the perfect choice as it often attracts young people living in urban city areas, a key target of the Olympic Movement, and they also believe it will be easy to follow for those who may not have seen it before on television.
It can also be broadcast at lower cost, the UCI claim, and does not require expensive infrastructure as events usually take place in venues similar to skate parks.
“It is with much enthusiasm that we partner with the UCI for the organisation of the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup within the FISE World Series,” Hurricane chief executive Hervé André-Benoit added.
“Our partnership is based on shared values and respects the discipline the way FISE has represented it for the past 20 years.
“Our collaboration will help accelerate the development of freestyle disciplines and we are proud to contribute, together with the UCI, to this new step forward for BMX.”
The sport itself includes four other disciplines - street, vert, dirt jump and flat - but it is just the park element that has been integrated into the UCI.