Niek Kimmann and Stefany Hernandez crowned 2015 UCI BMX Elite World Champions
The day started a little earlier than planned for a lot of the Elite riders as a storm was coming in and the program was shortened. In horrible conditions both the Men and Women were informed the World Championships race would start from the 5 meter hill instead of the 8 meter set-up that everyone had practiced on all week. It was a good decision to keep things safe for the riders. With little warm up time for everyone the race got underway quickly with a direct transfer system. BMX has some die-hard fans because the grandstands were full all the time while the rain was pouring down. Different tricks of the trade were used to keep the tires, grips and pedals dry to avoid slipping coming out at the start. The wet track required a different approach to make it through to the next round.
Freshly crowned UCI Time Trials Junior World Champion Axelle Etienne (FRA) showed she had the speed on a dry track but doing a single lap by herself in the sunshine on Friday, or racing with 7 others on a wet track the next day, is a whole different ballgame. Noone got close to Axelle on the track. She shot out of the gate from lane one and simply never looked back. The French rider was heading straight into a double victory in Zolder and crossed the finishline before Svetlana Admakina (RUS) and Kelsey van Ogle (USA) who grabbed silver and bronze respectively.
Collin Hudson from the United States of America was on his way to the gold in the Junior Men class until Exequiel Torres from Argentina showed he had more left in the tank on the last part of the technical track. It was a dragrace to the finish line which was won by the ecstatic Argentinean leaving Hudson with second and Romain Racine from France in third.
When the gate dropped in the Elite Women final, Alise Post (USA) used the inside lane to get in the lead. On her tail former World Champion Caroline Buchanan (AUS) was looking for an opening. Meanwhile Stefany Hernandez (VEN) had found her spot in third place. The move of the day happened in the 'Pajon Peralte' turn. Alise Post took it safe by taking the outside. The UCI's World Cycling Centre trainee on the other hand made a sharp turn on the wet track passing both Buchanan and Post at once. Alise crashed while Stephany built up a big lead. Buchanan cruised to second place and Simone Christensen (DEN) and Brooke Crain (USA) fought hard for the bronze medal. A photo finish determined that third place went to Denmark.
"No way, I'm leading the World Championships final!" That's what went through Niek Kimmann's mind as he came out of turn two where leader Sam Willoughby (AUS) hit the tarmac as he tried to hold off the Dutchman. David Graf (SUI) surprised the Aussie with a visit on the inside and that left an open space for last year's Junior World Champion to pass both of them in one turn. Although his legs felt empty on the last straight, the rider of the Dutch National team brought it home. "I can't believe it. I think I'll need some time to let this sink in. Back in the winter my coach Bas de Bever and I talked about winning the back to back Junior to Elite World title as we thought nobody had ever done that before. You only get one chance to do it and I'm just so stoked I got it done today," the new UCI champion said.