When young Carlos Ramirez pulled on the rainbow jersey in Birmingham (GBR) last year, he was propelled into the limelight. The Juniors World Vice-champion in the time trial and World Champion in the Supercross immediately developed a following back home in Colombia. On the evening of his victory, in May 2012, his coach at the World Cycling Centre Thomas Allier predicted: âI think this is just the beginning for him. There is more to come.â
Now, just one week out from the 2013 UCI BMX World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, the young athlete demonstrates a level-headed attitude to his first Worlds in the Elite category.
âI have pressure from people in Colombia because they know who I am. All the kids are watching me. But I am young and I donât think they are expecting big things. I push myself more than they push me. I always push myself to the limit, in training as well as in racing.â
He admits that it is not easy to transit from best in the world as a Junior to relative anonymity amongst the Elite.
A big changeÂ
âItâs a big change but Iâm feeling good and getting better. Itâs fun as well finding yourself up against the big names. You see what itâs like to be next to them, and you think âoh wowâ. But you canât let it get to you or youâre out of the game.â
In his first year as an Elite rider, the WCC trainee has performed well in the European Championships, more in the shadows at the UCI World Cup. His third place in the 10th round of the Europeans behind Latvians Edzus Treimanis and double Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs is a demonstration of what he is capable. So what are his ambitions for the World Championships?
âI am not sure what I can accomplish. I feel good on the gate and I feel good in training. Of course I want to make the main event. I will give it my best in every race.â
Thomas Allier estimates that he is capable of entering the top ten in the time trial. As for the Supercross, âa semi-final would be fantastic.â
The relatively small track in Auckland means that a good, explosive start will be more important than ever, even though, according to the coach, the Colombian is âcapable of overtaking anybody at any point.â
He adds: âCarlos has enormous potential. Coupled with his motivation, he is capable of anything.â
His rainbow jersey stays in Colombia
After the Worlds the young athlete will return to Switzerland where he intends working with Allier, himself a three-time World Champion, through to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio: âThomas has helped me so much. I trust him like I trust no other coach.â
But first he will take a well-earned break in Colombia with his family.... and his rainbow jersey and two World Championship medals.
âI keep them in Colombia because Iâm so scared of losing them,â he laughs. âMy parents know where they are and they can show them off if they want. My rainbow jersey is with all my other jerseys but it is folded perfectly. When I go home I sometimes take it out and have a look. It makes me happy and then I fold it very carefully and put it back!â
Photo: Carlos Ramirez, 2012 Juniors World Champion