Carlos Ramírez takes historic first UCI BMX Supercross World Cup win for Colombian men

After years of success by women's BMX racing legend Mariana Pajón, two-time Olympic bronze medallist Ramírez finally clinched a men's World Cup win for the country.

By ZK Goh
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Two-time Olympic bronze medallist Carlos Ramírez scored an historic first for Colombia in Sakarya, Turkey, on Sunday (24 October) when he became the first man from his country to win a UCI BMX Supercross World Cup event.

Colombia is no stranger to its double Olympic champion Mariana Pajón triumphing in women's races, but until Sunday no man had replicated her achievements.

On a rainy day in the Turkish city, 27-year-old Ramírez overcame the conditions and avoided an early crash in the final to win the sixth round of this year's eight-stop World Cup in 35.682 seconds.

Saturday's winner Simon Marquart of Switzerland and his teammate Cedric Butti, starting in the two inside gates, had the best launches out of the gate but both went down at the first turn, also taking out the third Swiss rider in the final, Gil Brunner.

That allowed Ramírez to ease away to an easy victory, ahead of Frenchman Romain Racine and Russian Aleksandr Katyshev.

"It was a nice race, a roller coaster. It's been hard with the weather but it's been fun," Ramírez said.

"First turn I was going to go for it, I said (to myself) it's now or never, then they collided. So I had a free inside and it helped me out.

"It's my first (World Cup) win ever, I've been second and third a couple of times, but to make it happen is just something crazy, something that's never been done by one of our Colombians on the men's side.

"Mariana has won a lot of times but on the men's side it's the first time we win, so it's just an amazing feeling. I've been working for it a lot and finally it's here."

The win catapulted the 27-year-old from Medellín to the top of the World Cup standings on 510 points, 10 ahead of Marquart and a further 30 ahead of Butti with two races and a maximum of 300 points left to score.

Laura Smulders edges out Stancil in women's final

There was a close finish in the women's final as yesterday's Round 5 winner Felicia Stancil of the United States was pipped coming down the final straight by the world bronze medallist Laura Smulders.

Stancil and her fellow American Payton Ridenour started strongly, with the former leading the race for more than three-quarters of the lap.

But Smulders was always on her tail, and after the final bend it was the Dutch rider who powered home to the end in first.

"I didn't have the best start in the final but I fought for it until the finish line and I beat Felicia just on the line, it was a really good race," Smulders said. "Unfortunate that it kept raining throughout the day, but the track held up, and I think it was really good racing."

For her part, the American said the wet weather had affected her race. "I was winning the entire lap till the last straight but I'm not too mad, I know what I did wrong," she said.

"The biggest factor today was the rain. Going into the first turn, I was a little cautious and I don't think I carried as much speed into the second straight which ultimately took some speed away from me for the rest of the lap."

After this weekend's races, Pajón – who was fourth today – has opened up a 15-point lead on Russia's Natalia Afremova in the women's standings, on 585 to 570 points. Ridenour (480), Smulders (470), and Stancil (445) are all still within touching distance, however, ahead of next weekend's last two rounds, which will also be held in Sakarya.

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