Cycling: Kiwi BMX riders add two more medals to round out world cycling champs

Rico Bearman on his way to bronze.
Rico Bearman on his way to bronze. Photo credit: Supplied

Two medals by BMX riders Rico Bearman and Megan Williams have rounded out New Zealand's outstanding UCI World Championship campaign at Glasgow.

The bronze medals to North Harbour's Bearman and Rotorua's Williams in the U23 category have brought the NZ tally to 16 medals - including five gold - over the 12 days.

The 'super worlds' proved a successful concept, with the UCI staging world championships for all 13 cycling disciplines under its banner over 12 days.

Kiwi riders sporting rainbow jerseys from the competition comprise two on the track to Ellesse Andrews (keirin) and Aaron Gate (points race), and three to mountain bike for Sam Gaze (short track cross-country), Samara Maxwell (U23 cross-country) and Erice van Leuven (junior women's downhill).

In a relatively short first straight, being fastest through the elimination rounds was critical to earn the favoured inside gate for best line to the critical first turn.

Rico Bearman shows off his bronze.
Rico Bearman shows off his bronze. Photo credit: Supplied

Bearman, who has been supreme in World Cup action this year, was third fastest of the quarter-final winners, drawing beside French rival Mateo Colsenet in the semi-final. The Kiwi finished second, but without a clean run, he drew in the middle for the final.

He was pushed back to sixth and blocked at the first turn in the final, and had to draw on all his skills to advance through to third and the bronze medal, behind Swiss Filib Steiner and Colsenet.

"It wasn't my best day to be honest, but no complaints," said Bearman. "I've walked away with a bronze medal, although not the gold I wanted.

"I didn't feel as good as I knew I could be today. I had an average semi and got a poor lane draw for the final.

"I made a good start from six, but the rider in seven was better and cut me off, so I had to come from the back and managed to salvage a third. It’s a pretty cool weekend.

"I am going home tomorrow and have not been back since March, so that's exciting. I have the World Cup in Sarrians [France] in just over a month, so I will get ready for that and try to tie up the World Cup series."

Williams was third in her semifinal to qualify for the big dance and, like Bearman, she did not get the best gate in the final, but manualled strongly to push through to third, and almost caught Great Britain's Emily Hutt for second, behind winner Tessa Martinez of France.

"It's incredible," said Williams. "I'm just a smalltown Kiwi girl, so to stand up on the podium is special.

"My starts weren't as good as some of the other girls, so I had to stay calm, use my strengths and get in a good position at the first corner, so I could use my track speed.

Niamh Fisher-Black.
Niamh Fisher-Black. Photo credit: Supplied

"I will have a couple of weeks off here with my family and then head to Portugal for the next round of the European Cup."

Olympic champion Bethany Shriever gave the home British fans plenty to cheer about, with victory in the women’s elite final, ahead of former champions Laura Smulders (Netherlands) and Alise Willoughby (USA).

The elite men’s final gave heart for the Paris Olympics, with a French shutout to winner Romain Mahieu from Arthur Pilard and two-time winner Joris Daudet.

In the road race, the NZ women's team were aggressive in early breaks, but were unable to mount any significant challenge in the 164km circuit course from Loch Lomond to Glasgow.

The Jumbo Visma professional Kim Cadzow (Queenstown) went on the break out in the transition from Loch Lomond, but was rounded up, while SD Worx professional Niamh Fisher-Black was in a six-rider break, but they were unable to sustain their effort.

From there, the major nations used their numbers to effect, with the Kiwis unable to push into the peloton, as Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky, who won two gold medals on the track, sprinted clear to claim the victory 4h 02m 12s.

SD Worx teammate and Tour de France Femme winner Demi Vollering of the Netherlands sprinted in for second, ahead of Denmark’s Cecile Ludwig.

Best of the Kiwi finishers was U23 rider Ella Wyllie in the third group, 14m 49s behind the winner, along with Fisher-Black and Cadzow.