The 2012 UCI BMX World Championships finished on Saturday evening after a tense and surprising set of finals that saw Australian Sam Willoughby win the Elite men’s title and France’s Magalie Pottier take victory in the Elite women’s competition.
Despite great results in the time trials on Friday neither Connor Fields nor Caroline Buchanan were able to make their mark in the final: Fields fell in the second to last corner, while Buchanan did not manage to get past the semi-finals.
The evening's races saw multiple crashes, not unusual on short and technical tracks like this course, luckily none of them were serious, though they did eliminate some of the big names. The UK was hit particularly hard with both Liam Phillip and Shanaze Reade, both second in the time trials, ruled out of the competition.
It is very rare that we lose both our trump cards on the same day
British Cycling's Olympic BMX Coach Grant White said: “That’s partly bad luck but we will do all we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”
Red Bull rider Shanaze Reade, was clearly disappointed and confirmed that she “didn’t enjoy it” but her coach stressed that the importance was her return to competition form after 12 months out.
In the absence of Buchanan, the Australian supporters put all their hopes in Willoughby in the Men’s final; a wise move as he lived up to their expectations by taking the win in masterful fashion. Fourth last year and systematically 2nd in the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup this season he took a tactical approach to racing.
"The race followed the plan exactly. I started in the first lane and had to get to the first corner first, and from then take a breath and ride as smoothly as possible because it's a tight indoor arena".
The remaining medals went to the France, with 2011 World Champion Joris Daudet taking silver and bronze going to Moana Moo Caille.
In the women's races France also took gold and silver, extending its domination with a world title in the Elite women’s race thanks to Magalie Pottier. Only ninth in Friday’s time trial, she got her revenge by beating her compatriot Eva Ailloud, who was second yesterday. The Czech, Romana Labounkova, finished third.
“I wanted to show what I was capable of,” said Magalie Poitier. “I had this victory in a corner of my mind but I didn’t know what my rivals would be like."
Some didn’t even get to the final, but that is what BMX is like. Sometimes it is all over in 30 seconds…
Currently leading the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, Pottier, aged 23, had already won the rainbow jersey in the Cruiser in 2006 and 2007 and looks set for further success.