Beth Shriever, left, faces a strong Dutch challenge as she seeks to defend her world title ©Getty Images

Niek Kimmann and Beth Shriever's title defences are due to begin tomorrow with the start of elite racing at the International Cycling Union (UCI) BMX Racing World Championships in Nantes.

The duo are also the reigning Olympic champions so enter competition at the French venue as the athletes to beat.

The Netherlands' Kimmann won the world title on a home track in Papendal last year, winning the silver medal at the previous UCI BMX Racing World Championships in 2019.

Kimmann also won the world title in 2015.

France's Sylvain André, a former world champion and the runner-up in 2021, promises to be among Kimmann's principal rivals, so too two-time Olympic medallist Carlos Ramírez from Colombia.

Niek Kimmann is the reigning world and Olympic champion ©Getty Images
Niek Kimmann is the reigning world and Olympic champion ©Getty Images

While Shriever leads British hopes in the women's event, Tokyo 2020 runner-up Kye Whyte spearheads the nation's charge in the men's event.

Dutch trio Judy Baauw, Laura Smulders and Merel Smulders - respectively second and third at last year's World Championships and the Olympic bronze medallist - are all in the women's field.

Round one and the last qualifying round are scheduled tomorrow at the Parc des Expositions de la Beaujoire.

Quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals are set to follow on Sunday (July 31).