2016 Rio Olympics – Who’s on track to make it?
On the 29th of May when the Elite riders take to the supercross track in Medellín Colombia for the 2016 UCI BMX World Championships, for the majority, it will be more about securing a place for the Rio Olympics rather than winning the event. Medellín is the last stop on the ‘Road to Rio’, the last place to get valuable UCI Olympic points. For the unqualified BMX nations it’s an all out battle to secure one of the 3 places for the men or one of the 2 available at the event for the Women … the ‘Race within the Race’! The final Olympic places for Rio are based on the UCI points table released a couple of days later … Tuesday, May 31st 2016 is ‘D Day’.
Only 32 Elite Men and 16 Elite Women will make it to the gate this August in Rio, a fraction of the riders allowed at a UCI World Cup event or the World Championships. So who is going, or at this stage who is likely to make it?
Based on the UCI Points table, post Papendal (10th May 2016) but pre Medellin, this is how we see the places being handed out …
Elite Men | 32 Olympic places are divided up as follows:
Host Nation – 1 spot
Nations Ranked 1-4 get 3 spots each
Nations Ranked 5-7 get 2 spots each
Nations Ranked 8-13 get 1 spot each
Individual Rider Ranking – the 4 best ranked riders/nations not already qualified (after the top 13 Nations) get 1 spot each
World Championships – The 3 best Elite male riders from countries not qualified will each get 1 spot
Download the UCI Olympic BMX Qualification System HERE
See the UCI Olympic Points HERE
Top 13 Elite Male Nations as of 10th May and which riders we think will get selected:
01 | USA – Fields / Long / Sharrah – The USA have a complicated internal system of power rankings, coaches picks and World’s podium automatic places but when all is said and done you would have to opt for these three. Fields should be back from injury in plenty of time.
02 | AUSTRAILA – Willoughby / Dean / Turner – Sam has clearly been working on changes for the last while and is returning to form, if it all comes together in Rio the rest of the field are in trouble. An Elite final without a fit Dean is probably not a good bet and he looked very fast in Papendal.
03 | HOLLAND – Kimmann / Van Gendt / Van Gorkom – The Dutch have had an injury plagued start to the year but are always strong when they get to the gate … who remembers Zolder 2015. Van Gendt and Van Gorkom should be back on it in Colombia.
04 | FRANCE – Daudet / Mir / Andre – Joris has probably been the most consistent Elite male over the last year, Mir and Andre look like being safe bets with Pelluard struggling to get back in time after another injury and the talented Godet being left at home for the worlds.
05 | GREAT BRITAN – Phillips / Evans – This is an easy one after Whyte and Isidore were ruled out when not selected for the Worlds, as was GB’s chance of 3 riders at the Games but we suspect they had already decided that Philips is their medal shot.
06 | LATVIA – Stromburgs / Treimanis – Stromburgs set down a big statement of intent in Papendal. Three in a row is a real possibility … what a story that would be.
07 | COLOMBIA – Oquendo / Ramirez – The obvious two for selection, you can never rule them out.
08 | ARGENTINA – Molina – We suspect it will be Molina in Rio but who could rule out Jr. Men W1 Torres Ezequiel with an outside chance.
09 | SWITZERLAND – Graf – Even though both Graf and Blanc are level on the internal Swiss points system and selection will come down to performance in Colombia, we are putting our money on Graf. He’s been the most consistent over the last year, is the current W3 and was awesome in Papendal!
10 | CANADA – Nyhaug – Easy decision, you would expect him in the main at any Elite event.
11 | NEW ZEALAND – Jones – He is going to sit out the Worlds after a crash in Papendal but we have been saying it for a while now … Jones is on the verge of something big, who knows what will happen in Rio.
12 | BRAZIL – Rezende – Just back from a long time out with injury but home soil is a big motivator.
13 | JAPAN – Nagasako – Bursting with natural ability but Rio may have arrived a little early for Yoshi, keep an eye on him in Tokyo 2020.
As Brazil look like they will hold onto an automatic place via the top 13 Nations, their HOST place is redistributed by the Tripartite Commission and will be given to the next country in the National Ranking, which is …
14 | EQUADOR – Campo – It’s got to be him …
The 4 best Nations based on Individual Riders Rankings, excluding countries previously qualified, will get one place each:
15 | RUSSIA – Komarov – Komarov probably just shades it over Kleshchenko right now but it’s a tough one.
16 | GERMANY – Brethauer – The fastest German right now.
17 | NORWAY – Navrestad – Tore has been making real progress this year with a main in Manchesterand some other good results.
18 | DENMARK – Laustsen – Very hard to pick between the Danish but we think it will be Laustsen, even though others have put in some better results this year.
This is where it gets really interesting from a World Championships point of view as we have a bunch of talented riders all racing each other for one of three Olympic spots available, ‘The Race Within The Race’ … hopefuls don’t have to worry about any of the big names, just come top 3 among the following countries:
Aruba, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, Jamaica, South Africa, Slovakia, Thailand, Venezuela & Zimbabwe.
From the above 19 nations in the battle for the last 3 spots, the following are probably the main contenders for the remaining places …
BELGIUM – Segers is more than capable of causing an upset in Colombia.
IRELAND – The current Masters W1, Kelvin Batey, has returned to the Elite ranks for one last shot at the Olympics.
ITALY – Romain Riccardi is a solid contender for one of the 3 spots.
JAMAICA – Maliek Byndloss switched nations from the USA for a shot at the Olympics, he’s been in the mix at this year’s UCI SX World Cups.
VENEZUELA – Milano or Suarez could easily take a spot for their nation.
We think the spots available in Colombia for the Olympics, well the first two anyway, will be taken by Venezuela and Italy with the third being a major battle between the rest … we’re going with Ireland and Kelvin Batey … we have faith!
Elite Women | 16 Olympic places are divided up as follows:
Host Nation – 1 spot
Nations Ranked 1-3 get 2 spots each
Nations Ranked 4-7 get 1 spots each
Individual Rider Ranking – the 3 best ranked riders/nations not already qualified (after the top 7 Nations) get 1 spot each
World Championships – The 2 best Elite female riders/nations from countries not qualified will each get 1 spot
Download the UCI Olympic BMX Qualification System HERE
See the UCI Olympic Points HERE
BRAZIL (host nation) – Priscilla Carnaval Stevaux – the host nation will send their Worlds pick.
Top 7 Elite Female Nations as of 10th May and which riders we think will get selected:
01 | USA – Post / Crain – The two obvious choices right now but Stancil is on her way to Colombia after a long time out and is capable of forcing her way into selection. You also can’t rule out Dani George at the Worlds.
02 | AUSTRAILA – Buchanan / Reynolds – Again the obvious choices.
03 | HOLLAND – Smulders / Van Benthem – The Dutch women have worked their way into third and two Olympic spots, they are going to have to work hard in Colombia to prevent the home nation over taking them but we’re confident that both the Dutch ladies will be in Rio.
04 | COLOMBIA – Pajon – Easy choice, currently ranked No. 1 and current Gold medal holder. She had a bad crash in practice in Papendal making her sit out that event but she’ll be back for Colombia and Rio.
05 | FRANCE – Valentino – With so much talent at their disposal this is a hard one to predict who is going to Rio. We are going with Valentino who is coming back to form after some time out but it’s hard to rule out Pottier and Etienne (although she is racing Jr. Women in Colombia). The Worlds are going to play a big role in this selection we think … Valentino Vs Pottier.
06 | RUSSIA – Bondarenko – Suvorova is also in the mix but has been a little behind her team mate this year. It might need the Worlds to sort this one out too.
07 | VENEZUELA – Hernandez – Stefany is going to Rio, simple. She sat out Papendal after her crash in Manchester but will be back on it in South America.
The 3 best Nations based on Individual Riders Rankings, excluding countries previously qualified, will get one place each:
08 | DENMARK – Simone Christensen – She has been flying this year, barring injury, she’ll be on the gate in Rio. Currently in the first of the three spots for Individual Riders Rankings, excluding countries previously qualified.
09 | BELGIUM – Elke Vanhoof – Miss Vanhoof is also looking like she has secured a Rio spot.
10 | NEW ZEALAND – Sarah Walker – The silver medalist from London, Sarah Walker, has to be a favorite to make Rio despite her recent run of injuries.
And then we are down to the ‘Race within the Race’, the Worlds in Colombia has two spots up for grabs for the Rio Olympics in the Elite Women’s class. Based on the points as they stand, these are the countries that will be fighting for those two places …
Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania & Thailand.
From the above 11 nations, the following are probably the main contenders for one of those two remaining places …
ARGENTINA – Maria Gabriela Diaz will have the support of the whole of South America at the Worlds and that could be the difference in her hunt for an Olympic spot.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Ranked No. 18, Aneta Hladikova will be looking for a Rio place.
GERMANY – Nadja Pries is defiantly capable of taking one of the two place available in Colombia.
LITHUANIA – Vilma Rimsaite has being keeping a low profile this year but she’s going to Colombia.
THAILAND – After switching from the USA, Amanda Carr will be gunning for a place in Colombia.
So … a week before the all important World Championships, who are the 48 most likely going to Rio? This is our guess … and it’s not all ruled by the head …
Elite Men (32)
- 01 | BRAZIL | Rezende
- 02 | USA | Fields
- 03 | USA | Long
- 04 | USA | Sharrah
- 05 | AUSTRAILA | Willoughby
- 06 | AUSTRAILA | Dean
- 07 | AUSTRAILA | Turner
- 08 | HOLLAND | Kimmann
- 09 | HOLLAND | Van Gendt
- 10 | HOLLAND | Van Gorkom
- 11 | FRANCE | Daudet
- 12 | FRANCE | Mir
- 13 | FRANCE | Andre
- 14 | GREAT BRITAIN | Phillips
- 15 | GREAT BRITAIN | Evans
- 16 | LATVIA | Stromburgs
- 17 | LATVIA | Treimanis
- 18 | COLOMBIA | Oquendo
- 19 | COLOMBIA | Ramirez
- 20 | ARGENTINA | Molina
- 21 | SWITZERLAND | Graf
- 22 | CANADA | Nyhaug
- 23 | NEW ZEALAND | Jones
- 24 | JAPAN | Nagasako
- 25 | EQUADOR | Campo
- 26 | RUSSIA | Komarov
- 27 | GERMANY | Brethauer
- 28 | NORWAY | Navrestad
- 29 | DENMARK | Laustsen
- 30 | VENEZUELA | Milano
- 31 | ITALY | Riccardi
- 32 | IRELAND | Batey
Elite Women (16)
- 01 | BRAZIL | Stevaux
- 02 | USA | Post
- 03 | USA | Crain
- 04 | AUSTRAILA | Buchanan
- 05 | AUSTRAILA | Reynolds
- 06 | HOLLAND | Smulders
- 07 | HOLLAND | Van Benthem
- 08 | COLOMBIA | Pajon
- 09 | FRANCE | Valentino
- 10 | RUSSIA | Bondarenko
- 11 | VENEZUELA | Hernandez
- 12 | DENMARK | Christensen
- 13 | BELGIUM | Vanhoof
- 14 | NEW ZEALAND | Walker
- 15 | GERMANY | Pries
- 16 | ARGENTINA | Diaz