UCI World Cycling Centre: Stefany Hernandez on target for Rio

UCI World Cycling Centre: Stefany Hernandez on target for Rio

UCI World Cycling Centre: Stefany Hernandez on target for Rio

Stefany Hernandez (VEN) on the UCI World Cycling Centre BMX track

 

Stefany Hernandez (VEN) on the UCI World Cycling Centre BMX track

 

On social media Stefany Hernandez uses the hashtag #consistency469. 469 is her permanent career number, the one displayed on the front of her bike and with which she can be indentified in races. Consistency is a word with which Stefany Hernandez identifies herself.

“I have been very consistent this year,” says the 23-year-old who finished 6th in the 2014 UCI Ranking with the same number of points as 5th-placed Manon Valentino, of France. The young Venezuelan finished fourth overall in the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup with two podiums, two fourth-places and one fall in the semi-finals.

Since arriving at the UCI World Cycling Centre in 2012, Stefany has steadily progressed. The plan is to continue that progression in 2015 and be in peak form for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The prospect of racing at the Olympics so close to home is a particular source of inspiration.

“I love the energy in South America,” enthuses the young athlete. “I love being on the track and doing what I enjoy. If you give 100% every day and work hard you can be regular and consistent. Then all of a sudden you look back and realise ‘wow, I’ve already achieved all that…’

Her positive attitude has been severely challenged at times, for example when she broke her ankle the year before the 2012 Olympic Games: “It was a difficult and stressful preparation.”
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The convalescent BMXer arrived at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, for the first time just four months before the Games. Despite getting back into good shape, Stefany fell in the semi-final in London and did not even get the opportunity to line up in the last eight. It was a make or break situation in her career which saw her return to Venezuela, give up sport and “go crazy” for a few months.

“But I wasn’t happy like that. I wanted to be Olympic Champion and I knew what I had to do. I had a lot of chance that Thomas Allier (WCC coach – ed) believed in me. In January 2013 I was ready to go and we are on the right path. I think when you look back, all the disappointments are just steps on the way to something.”

The first step of her BMX career began, literally, in her mother’s womb. Stefany’s mother started having contractions while watching a BMX race. Born into the sport, the little girl followed in the footsteps of her two older brothers and competed in her first UCI World Championships, in the Challenge class, in Louisville (USA) 2001. Her brothers were also racing and their father sold his car so he would have enough money to take them.

Finances continued to be an issue until 2009 when Stefany beat the then Junior World Champion, a certain Mariana Pajón, in a regional race.

“Things really started to take off then. The Venezuelan Government gave me some money and I started racing and training in France. I had always admired the French athletes. To me they were like rock stars! Something changed in my head and it was around then that I realised I could get to the Olympic Games.”

The 23-year-old athlete is certainly not getting rich from her sport, and considers herself extremely fortunate to get support from Olympic Solidarity. But money is secondary: “I do what I love and I have a coach who believes in me. Thomas is so passionate and follows us closely. All the staff at the UCI World Cycling Centre are amazing. I am so lucky.”

This winter is the first one that the BMX athletes will spend at the WCC. When the weather permits they will continue riding the centre’s Supercross track, complemented by specific sessions on the velodrome and workouts in the gym. It’s a far cry from the sunny warmth of Venezuela but for Stefany there is no problem with that: “I like winning and I know what I have to do.”

The 2015 UCI BMX World Championships race track is official

The 2015 UCI BMX World Championships race track is official

The 2015 UCI BMX World Championships race track is official

Heusden-Zolder track

 

Heusden-Zolder track

 

The official track for the 2015 UCI BMX World Championships at Heusden-Zolder, Belgium, has been completed.  Located on the former Formula 1 track Circuit Zolder, the Supercross track even bears certain resemblances to a car racetrack: as well as being big and fast, its three corners have been given names. The inspiration?  Three of the fastest women BMXers in the world.

After flying down the 8m start hill, riders will tackle the first corner, the Buchanan Bend, named after Australian rider and World Champion in 2012 and 2013 Caroline Buchanan. Once past the pro-section, the 2nd corner awaits, thePajon Curva, named after Colombia’s Mariana Pajon, reigning Olympic Champion and World Champion. Before the last straight is the 3rd corner or Post Corner; this is named after American rider Alise Post 2nd at the 2012 and 2014 World Championships and 1st Pro Elite Women USABMX 2014.

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The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), riders and national coaches all had an input in the development of the track to ensure it meets the highest standards. Construction was carried out by BMX Zolder’s official French track builders ProTracks.

UCI BMX Coordinator Kevin MacCuish commented: “There is no doubt that this track will produce some exciting racing. It is large and challenging and we will witness some extremely fast and spectacular riding. The last three editions of the UCI BMX World Championships have been held on more compact, indoor tracks so 2014 will provide a different style of racing. It is exciting to return to an outdoor venue.”

Some facts and figures:

·         380m long track

·         Concrete 8m and cobblestone 5m start ramps

·         2 separate pro-sections on 1st  and 2nd straights

·         Lip of the first jump for both 8m and 5m start hills on asphalt

Riders will be able to test the track in race conditions at the UEC BMX European Cup Rounds 1 & 2 from the 3rd till 5thApril 2015 at BMX Zolder.  The 2015 UCI BMX World Championships will take place from July 21st to 25th.

Asian coaches complete UCI BMX Coaching Course in Thailand

Asian coaches complete UCI BMX Coaching Course in Thailand

Asian coaches complete UCI BMX Coaching Course in Thailand

Thomas Allier explains coaching techniques
Thomas Allier explains coaching techniques

Thirteen BMX coaches from 10 countries have just completed a week-long Level 2 BMX course with the aim of further developing the discipline in Asia. It was organised from November 17 to 22 thanks to the collaboration between the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC) and the Thai Cycling Association.

UCI BMX Coach Thomas Allier flew out from the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland, to give the course which combined theory classes and practical sessions on the Pattaya PRC BMX track.

Allier, himself a former World Champion, already coaches several Asian athletes in Switzerland, notably 2013 World Championships finalist and reigning Asian Champion Yoshitaku Nagasako (Japan) and up until this year two Indonesian athletes Elga Kharisma and Toni Syarifudin.

While these riders have benefitted from the expert coaching and facilities at the World Cycling Centre in Aigle, the aim is to raise the standard of coaching on the Asian continent so athletes can receive high-level coaching in their own countries.

Participants on last week’s course came from Thailand, Iran, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia. Some had little previous experience coaching BMX while others were already in charge of preparing their national riders for major international competitions.

“Their thirst to learn was incredible,” says Thomas Allier. “They gave everything they had to progress and improve.  BMX is taking off in Asia, and these coaches learnt a great deal during the week. Some definitely have the ability to go onto a higher level.”

Two other BMX coaching courses have already been held in Asia this year, in Iran and Korea.

“There is still a huge potential for further developing BMX in Asia and one of the best ways to do this is by raising the standard of coaching,” explained WCC Training Coordinator Belinda Tarling. “There is no shortage of talent on the continent, and our three BMX coaching courses held in Asia this year demonstrate that the commitment is there to professionalise the coaches.”

She added that applications from National Federations were already being processed for courses in 2015. These courses will range from Level 1 generic coaching courses to Level 2 courses for specific disciplines. The aim is that coaches will progress from Level 2 to attend the UCI coaching Diploma at the WCC in Aigle.

2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup: Santiago del Estero voted best event of 2014

2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup: Santiago del Estero voted best event of 2014

2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup: Santiago del Estero voted best event of 2014

 

Santiago del Estero, Argentina

 

Santiago del Estero, Argentina

 

The fourth round of the 2014 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, which was held in Santiago del Estero (ARG), has been voted “best event” of the series.

Santiago del Estero has been praised by riders, the UCI BMX Commission, sponsors, the UCI, GSX Events and media representatives. The evaluation was based on five criteria: event promotion, organisation, the race and track, venue and atmosphere. The comments submitted by our jury members, which included many words such as « best », « great » and « awesome », served to put Santiago del Estero at the top when compared to the all the other high-quality events in the series.

Santiago del Estero receives the winning vote in just its second year on the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup calendar. In 2015 it will return for a third year, again in September.

The winners will receive their trophy in February during a seminar for organisers of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup. The seminar will be organised at the UCI World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.

GoPro Crash Luis Brethauer – 2014 UCI BMX WCHs – Rotterdam

GoPro Crash Luis Brethauer – 2014 UCI BMX WCHs – Rotterdam

BMX Dominates Parkour Ride

BMX Dominates Parkour Ride

BMX Dominates Parkour Ride

Parkour Ride 2014


BMX Supercross champion Liam Phillips rounded off his season by becoming the inaugural Parkour Ride champion in London this weekend. Phillips beat Ryan Stack in the best of three final with fellow GB BMX professional, Tre Whyte, rounding off the podium in third place.

The event saw amateur and professional road, BMX and MTB riders racing on a specifically designed circuit in the multi-storey car park at Tobacco Docks in East London. Twenty amateur riders qualified for the evening elimination tournament where they came head to head with ten pro riders including Phillips, David Millar and MTB Downhill World Champion, Manon Carpenter.

Parkour Ride 2014


On his way to the final Phillips had to beat tough competition eliminating Manon Carpenter in the quarter finals and Tre Whyte in the semis before meeting the young BMXer Ryan Stack in the final. Phillips showed the form that helped him become Supercross champion getting faster as the competition progressed eventually setting a course fastest lap of 50.60 seconds.

Parkour Ride 2014


Nearly 1000 spectators packed into the venue to watch the action unfold and organisers are already making plans to develop the concept in 2015, “We’re really pleased with how it went and the first event was always going to be a proof of concept” said MD of Face Partnership, James Pope. “We learnt a lot and have had some great feedback so we are already making plans for the next event and will continue to work closely with Liam Phillips and other riders to develop the Parkour Ride format in 2015.”

Parkour Ride 2014


For full results, images and GoPro footage from the event visit www.parkourride.com and follow @ParkourRide.

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup: Phillips and Buchanan grab 2014 overall World Cup titles

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup: Phillips and Buchanan grab 2014 overall World Cup titles

UCI BMX Supercross World Cup: Phillips and Buchanan grab 2014 overall World Cup titles

Phillips and Buchanan grab 2014 overall World Cup titles
Phillips and Buchanan grab 2014 overall World Cup titles

The title for Liam Phillips did not come easy. In fact, Liam did not make it to the main event. In the quarter finals the Brit did not make it through. “I was in lane two next to Corben Sharrah (USA) who had a great start as did David Herman (USA) on the outside and got into some traffic going into turn one. Then Kyle Evans (GBR) overshot the first jump on the second straight and crashed, which I avoided together with Sylvain Andre (FRA). We then touched and I went down and that was it.” said Phillips.

At that moment the series leader panicked a little as title contender Anthony Dean (AUS) was still in the race. Liam: “The whole objective coming into this race was to win the overall title and end the race the same way I’ve ridden the whole season and end the season with a podium.” That plan was over when Phillips was eliminated of the race and Dean transfered to the semi final. Calculations were made quickly and for the Australian to win the title he had to win the race. Pressure was on and got to Dean in the semi final where the race stopped for him after a hard fought battle with Barry Nobles (USA) on the rhythm session. A relief for Liam Phillips because Anthony’s crash meant the 2014 overall title was his.

The Men final was won by Australian Sam Willoughby who had been ill all week leading up to the race. The goal was still to win the race and Sam was delighted he pulled it off. Willoughby: “This track is so long and challenging which adds another variable to it. This track is as big as it gets, it’s so gnarly but it’s what we train for.” Second place was for local Nic Long (USA) who scored his first World Cup podium of 2014 on his home track. Third place went to an emotional Carlos Ramirez (COL). It was his first World Cup Supercross podium.

The level of the women riding BMX supercross is incredible. The progression they’ve made over the years is truely amazing. America’s Alise Post’s comeback after an early season injury in nothing short of impressive and she got in the lead together with Mariana Pajon going into the first turn. On the second straight the battle continued as points leader Caroline Buchanan sneaked into third place. The rhythm section is Mariana’s favourite part of the track and that’s where she took off from Post. Alise actually lost momentum in the rollers and Buchanan passed her for second place. The hug between race winner Pajon and overall World Cup winner Buchanan was a nice way to end a great season.