France’s Joris Daudet and Colombia’s Mariana Pajon will seek to defend their elite titles when the International Cycling Union (UCI) BMX World Championships get underway in Rock Hill tomorrow.
The American venue has been a regular host of BMX World Cup competitions, but cyclists will head there knowing world titles are now on the line.
Daudet earned the men’s elite title last year in Medellín and comes into the Championships in strong form, after being crowned as the European champion earlier this month in Bordeaux.
He will expect to face competition from the Olympic champion Connor Fields, with the American cyclist seeking to win the elite world title for the first time in his career.
Fields will be able to count on strong home support as he aims to achieve the feat, while his compatriot Corben Sharrah will also be heavily backed.
Latvia’s Maris Strombergs, the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic champion, could also be among the contenders, while The Netherlands will hope Niek Kimmann, Twan van Gendt and Dave van der Burg can also challenge.
Pajon will begin as the favourite in the women’s event, with the double Olympic champion and multiple world champion having the experience and speed to potentially defend her crown.
The Netherlands’ Laura Smulders, who won the European title this month, enjoyed success at the Rock Hill World Cup last year and will be aiming for a repeat.
Home favourite Alise Post and Australia’s Caroline Buchanan could also challenge for top spot on the podium.
The Championships will begin tomorrow with a BMX World Challenge event, with age group competitions then following from July 26 to 28.
Elite racers will take to the course for competition on Saturday (July 29), with elite and junior titles on offer from tomorrow.