An innovative calendar
The UCI conducted a thorough review of the BMX calendar in 2012. As a result, the BMX Commission introduced a Category 1 International class for events and withdrew the former Categories 4 and 5. The new category makes more UCI points available and the UCI World Cup ranking is now taken into account when calculating UCI World Championship quotas. After a slight drop in the number of races on the calendar to 90 in 2013 - a post-Olympic year - there was a return to a positive trend in 2014 with 117 events registered on the UCI calendar, an increase of 30%.
Plan for BMX teams
The coherence of the calendar is a healthy indicator of the credibility of BMX as an Olympic discipline. BMX has been part of the Olympic programme twice since the 2008 Beijing Games and the discipline will be even more professional by the time of the 2016 Rio Games. National Federations are working much more with their riders with the implementation of structured training programmes. Interest is also growing in the BMX industry which increasingly wants its own teams. Manufacturers want to see riders competing in their team colours. The BMX Commission is currently working on this project and the aim is to introduce BMX teams for the 2015 season. This development should attract partners to the sport, in this way benefiting the athletes.
Riders have become increasingly used to attention from TV and other media. The riders are very approachable and consider talking to the media as just another part of their BMX experience. The UCI World Championships in Rotterdam [23-27.07.2014] will be broadcasted live on YouTube for the second year running. One of the UCIâ€™s top priorities is to make BMX accessible to individuals who are not familiar with the discipline. An example of this approach has been to simplify qualification to the UCI World Championships, changing from three rounds to a direct elimination format, with the top four riders going through to the next level. The changes made mean that the system is easier to understand for athletes and organisers as well as broadcasters and the general public.
Womenâ€™s BMX grows in strength
An increasing number of women are taking up BMX racing. As the level of women's events has increased, a lot of interest has been generated among spectators and TV viewers. And itâ€™s not just on the racing side that more women are becoming involved, women are entering the BMX professions too as coaches and commissaires and in other key positions. The BMX Commission is a good example of this: the Commission includes Jolanda Polkamp (appointed by the Management Committee and UEC BMX Commission President), Sarah Walker (Riders' representative) and Ellen BollansÃ©e (UCI BMX Coordinator).
New BMX track at the WCC
The World Cycling Centre has restructured its Training Programme into two shorter modules. It will take four weeks to obtain Level 1 and Level 2 certificates and then four weeks for the UCI Coaching Diploma. The next sessions will be held in September. The WCC is also planning to open its new BMX track in May. The 400-metre track will feature two starting ramps of 8 m and 5 m as well as 25 bumps and meets all the criteria of the UCI BMX track certificate. Adjacent to the competition track, a pump track and dirt jumps with more than 50 bumps and 10 berms will provide riders with valuable extra training facilities. New recommendations on BMX tracks will be sent to National Federations in June.