Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions Shriever and Kimmann double up at 2021 UCI BMX World Championships

Just three weeks after winning gold in Tokyo, both Beth Shriever and Niek Kimmann repeated their achievements by taking the World Championships title in Arnhem-Papendal, Netherlands.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Olympic BMX racing champions Bethany Shriever of Great Britain and Netherlands' Niek Kimmann doubled up on their Tokyo 2020 triumphs by each winning the elite finals at the 2021 UCI BMX World Championships in Arnhem-Papendal, Netherlands.

Shriever avoided an early crash to streak away for women's gold, while Kimmann held off French 2018 world champion Sylvain André to win the men's race despite still grappling with a knee injury sustained in Tokyo.

"[It was] absolutely insane because Monday night, the team doctor called me and said 'I wouldn't recommend racing'," Kimmann said after the final, referring to his knee injury.

"I said 'You know it's a home Worlds, right?' He said, 'If you take two months off, I'll let you race.'

"But I managed to pull it off."

Shriever wins crash-affected women's final

The women's final was a star-studded affair, with current Olympic champion Shriever, home favourite and 2018 world champion Laura Smulders, two-time Olympic champion Mariana Pajón, and defending world champion Alise Willoughby all involved.

Willoughby was quickest out of the gate but went down in a three-rider crash after the first turn, with Shirever escaping well off into the distance.

Shriever eased to a clear win to add to her Olympic title and claim the world champion's rainbow jersey, with two Dutch riders Judy Baauw and Smulders behind her.

Pajón, who started out of the gates slowly but avoided the crash, finished fourth.

Kimmann overcomes continuing knee problem to take men's title

Kimmann was the only men's Tokyo 2020 podium finisher in action in the men's event, with silver winner Kye Whyte and bronze medallist Carlos Ramírez both skipping the Championships.

Unlike at the Olympic Games, where except for the final race athletes have three runs in each round, the World Championships are a single-elimination race after the opening motos (heats), meaning riders had to be on form at every stage.

There was a surprise earlier in the day as defending world champion Twan van Gendt of the Netherlands finished fifth in his quarter-final heat, falling foul to the different format and eliminating him from the remainder of the competition.

A visibly-disappointed van Gendt failed to get a good start and ended last in the five-man heat, with only the top four making the semis.

The men's final featured two Dutchmen, two Frenchmen, two Swiss, an Australian and an American.

Simon Marquart of Switzerland was the quickest out of the game but Kimmann and André both quickly found a way past the Swiss rider and pulled away from the pack, with Kimmann holding off Frenchman to win his second rainbow jersey after 2015.

It was a display of pure power from Kimmann, despite still struggling with the fracture he suffered in his knee at Tokyo 2020.

Marquart's teammate David Graf came through to take bronze.

"The crowd screaming your name when you're on the gate, it's special," Kimmann reflected after winning gold.


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