Buchanan fires Rio warning shot at World Cup opener
27 March 2016
BMX: Australian Olympian and former BMX World Champion Caroline Buchanan has fired the first warning shot on the road to Rio by winning round one of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.
After finishing second by four one hundredths of a second in yesterday’s time trial, 25-year-old Buchanan returned to the track today to lead every single lap contested from the motos to final, inevitably beating home world time trial champion Mariana Pajon and Dutch rider Laura Smulders in the final.
With a chance to claim the first significant victory of 2016 on the line, Buchanan rocketed out of the gate to establish a handy lead, her only challenger coming late in the piece in the form of Pajon, the Colombian attempting a passing move at the final turn. However Buchanan held her line to win by two tenths of a second, saying that confidence was key following a strong off-season.
“I felt really good today, I didn’t drop a lap and won all my motos, won the semi final, which seeded me in first place for the final and I had lane one, I felt confident,” Buchanan said.
“I’ve had a solid off season and after yesterday’s time trial where I had a close battle with Mariana, I got the holeshot today after getting out of the gate really strong. With the inside line to the first corner I was able to hold on to the lead to the finish line.
"I am stoked to kick off the season with a win, and repeat what I did in 2015 by winning the first round of the world cup. Now I want to keep it going into Manchester and then onto Holland, and the worlds (world championships) after that. It’s a long season but the road to Rio is looking strong.”
It was a less delightful day for the Aussie men, with Sam Willoughby the only one progressing to the semi finals. Willoughby’s attempt for a place in the finals was short lived following a small scuffle with Kiwi Trent Jones that saw the Aussie’s foot come loose off the pedal, and hinder any momentum he had out of the starting gate, which dropped him back through the field.
Fellow elite Australian men Bodi Turner and Kai Sakakibara had their day end after the motos; while Anthony Dean fared slightly better as he managed to make it as far as the quarterfinals.
Queensland’s Melinda McLeod was the highest placed Aussie competitor behind Buchanan in the women’s event, qualifying through to the semi final round, however her day wouldn’t progress after that point. Both Illawarra’s Leanna Curtis and Western Australia’s Lauren Reynolds had their campaign end after the motos.
The UCI BMX Supercross World Cup will continue in two weeks time when the athletes converge from April 9-10 in Manchester.