Team USA Elites: Ready for Baku
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Team USA has arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan, for the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships. Twelve U.S. athletes will race for a chance to take home the rainbow jersey in both Junior and Elite divisions, including reigning UCI World Champions Corben Sharrah (Tucson, Ariz.) and Alise Willoughby (Chula Vista, Calif.), along with 2016 Olympic gold medalist Connor Fields (Henderson, Nev.). More than 2,000 athletes representing over 50 countries are expected to ride in the five-day event from June 5-9, with the finals scheduled for Saturday, June 9.
“The team is excited as we head into the World Championships in Baku,” said Jamie Staff, USA Cycling's Performance Director, BMX & Sprint Track. “Obviously we had much success last year in Rock Hill, but we realize we have our work cut out for us to repeat that again. We have finished off preparations with some training in Paris at the French BMX facility to get the riders in the right mindset for the race. I know our top athletes are now ready, and they will give it their best shot.”
The U.S. elite lineup also features: Jared Garcia (Victorville, Calif.), silver medalist at the 2017 USA Cycling BMX National Championships; two-time Olympian Nic Long (Lakeside, Calif.), who is racing in his 10th World Championships; two-time Olympian (2012, 2016) Brooke Crain (Visalia, Calif.); 2018 USA Cycling BMX National Championships silver medalist Dani George (Palmdale, Calif.); and Mika Shaw (Bailey, Colo.), who has three top 20 finishes in this year’s UCI World Cup circuit.
Two women and two men will compete in the junior classes for Team USA: Dena Dawson (Bradenton, Fla.), Stephani Morin (Stephani Morin), Jesse Welch (Perris, Calif.), and Bryant White (Lakeside, Calif.).
Last year at the World Championships, Sharrah and Willoughby topped the podium in both elite divisions, winning the rainbow jersey on home soil in Rock Hill, S.C. For Sharrah, the win marked his first medal in a major international competition. He now heads into the week ranked fifth overall in the UCI standings and has finished among the top 10 in two UCI BMX Supercross World Cup rounds this season. Sharrah also won gold at this year’s USA Cycling BMX National Championships.
Willoughby began her 2018 season where she left off. She won gold at the 2018 USA Cycling BMX National Championships – her eighth national title. In her first World Cup of the season, she claimed silver in Round 3 and she won the gold medal Round 4 at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Papendal, Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Fields, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist, enters the week ranked ninth in the UCI standings. He has competed in three World Cup races this season, and he previously won gold in the Time Trial event at the 2012 and 2013 UCI World Championships.
The racing schedule is highlighted by the 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 races followed by the finals in both Junior and Elite divisions on Saturday, June 9. The schedule also includes the UCI BMX World Challenge earlier in the week, running June 5-7. The world-class track in Baku was used for the 2015 European Games, and last year it was upgraded to meet current UCI standards.
TEAM USA 2018 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ROSTER
WOMEN - ELITE
Brooke Crain (Visalia, Calif.)
Dani George (Palmdale, Calif.)
Mika Shaw (Bailey, Colo.)
Alise Willoughby* (Chula Vista, Calif.)
MEN - ELITE
Connor Fields* (Henderson, Nev.)
Jared Garcia (Victorville, Calif.)
Nic Long (Lakeside, Calif.)
Corben Sharrah* (Tucson, Ariz.)
WOMEN - JUNIOR
Dena Dawson (Bradenton, Fla.)
Stephani Morin (Stephani Morin)
MEN - JUNIOR
Jesse Welch (Perris, Calif.)
Bryant White (Lakeside, Calif.)
*Indicates automatic qualification.
Saturday, June 9 at 8:40 pm local in Baku / 12:40 pm ET:
2018 UCI BMX World Championships: 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and Finals for WJ, MJ, WE, ME
Find the complete event schedule HERE.
The USA Cycling UCI BMX World Championship selection criteria are available HERE.