2022 UCI BMX racing World Championships: Preview, schedule, how to watch the top riders in action

Olympic champions Mariana Pajon, Beth Shriever, and Niek Kimmann start their chase for more Supercross gold medals in Nantes, France, on 30-31 July. 

By Alessandro Poggi

The best bicycle motocross racers on the planet are in action from 26 to 31 July when the 2022 UCI BMX racing World Championships take place in Nantes.

The event has been held yearly since 1996 (except in 2020 when it was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic) and is staged in France for the third time in history after Vallet in 1999 and Paris in 2005.

Last year Niek Kimmann (Netherlands) and Bethany Shriever (Great Britain) claimed gold in Papendal just weeks after both taking the men’s and women’s Olympic titles respectively in Tokyo.

Around 3,000 world-class riders from over 50 countries are expected to compete in front of 5,000 spectators on the 450m-long purpose-built track at the Nantes Parc des Expositions.

The main event will be the contest in the Championships class with six categories represented: Elite (aged 19 and over), U23 (19-22) and Junior (aged 17 and 18), both for men and women.

Read on to find out more about stars to watch and schedule.

2022 UCI BMX racing World Championships: Stars to watch - Men

Reigning Olympic and world champion Kimmann skipped all four rounds in this season’s World Cup but the 26-year-old has been ramping up his preparation in the last few weeks and comes to the northwest of France with a target on his back after collecting two golds and two silvers at the Worlds so far.

France’s Sylvain Andre also has a good CV at the major event with four medals in the last four editions, including a gold in 2018. The 29-year-old Provence native currently leads the Men Elite rankings in the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup with one win (in Papendal) and two second places, followed by Diego Alejandro Arboleda Ospina of Colombia and fellow Frenchman Romain Mayet in third.

Another man to watch out for is Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Kye Whyte of Britain, who recently clinched his first European title in Dessel, Belgium, while the ‘Magician’ Carlos Alberto Ramirez of Colombia, a two-time Olympic bronze medallist, joins the list of outsiders along with France’s Romain Mahieu.

WATCH: How Niek Kimmann won gold days after crashing into an official

Niek Kimmann posing with Olympic gold at the Ariake Urban Sports Park on 30 July 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

2022 UCI BMX racing World Championships: Stars to watch - Women

In the women’s field all eyes are on defending champion Shriever, who currently holds the Olympic, world, and European titles, and 2018 gold medallist Laura Smulders of the Netherlands who tops the Women Elite standings in front of the British rider after claiming the two opening World Cup rounds in Glasgow, Scotland.

Switzerland’s Zoe Claessens is another rider to watch after she triumphed in both rounds in Papendal, Netherlands, in June.

BMX ‘Queen’ and two-time Olympic champion Mariana Pajon suffered two early exits in the opening World Cup event and was forced to withdraw from rounds 3 and 4 in Papendal after a heavy crash in training. But the triple Elite Women world champion (2011, 2014, 2016) seems to have recovered well from the concussion and wrist injury and this month she claimed gold both at the Bolivarian Games and the Colombian National championships.

2022 UCI BMX racing World Championships: Schedule

In Nantes the following BMX racing classes will compete across six days: Challenge (Standard 20 Inch bicycles and Cruiser 24), Masters and Championships.

For a complete explanation of all the categories within each class you can check the UCI BMX Racing World Championships competition guide.

From this edition the Championships class sees the addition of the under 23 category while there’s also a significant change in the race format with one qualifying round where the top four move on to the knockout stages. The remaining riders will compete in a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) round where only the top two advance.

Here’s the schedule for the Championships categories (Times are in CET), full details about the remaining classes can be found here.

Friday 29 July

15:00-21 Official training WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

Saturday 30 July

11:00-13:30 Warmup WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

14:00-15:40 Round 1 WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

15:40-16:40 LCQ (Last Chance Qualifier) WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

17:55 1/8 Final WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

Sunday 31 July

9:30-11:30 Warmup WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

12:00-13:05 1/4 Finals - WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

13:05-13:55 Semi-Finals - WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

13:55-14:40 Finals - WJ, MJ, WU23, MU23, WE, ME

2022 UCI BMX racing World Championships: How to watch

Full broadcast and live streaming coverage details of the event will be confirmed in due course. Bookmark this page and return for more information.

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