Old rivals France and the Netherlands fight it out for European BMX supremacy
GLASGOW - Once more, French riders will be the leading contenders when the BMX competition at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships gets underway at Knightswood Park on Friday 11 August, with both men's and women's medal races taking place on Saturday.
France is the most successful European country at BMX world championships, with more than double the amount of medals than their historic rivals the Netherlands.
It was a France one-two at the 2018 World Championships in June, when number one ranked rider Sylvain ANDRE took gold - and the sport's coveted rainbow jersey - in Baku, Azerbaijan, ahead of Joris DAUDET. It was a different story at the 2017 European championships in Bordeaux, where DAUDET - who is currently ranked third in the world - topped the podium, with ANDRE having to settle for bronze.
Between the two Frenchmen in the rankings is 2015 world champion Niek KIMMANN (NED), who currently leads the 2018 World Cup standings after four victories. With another Dutchman, Joris HARMSEN, making up the world top four it promises to be quite a battle between the sport's traditional powerhouses.
In women's BMX, it is the Netherlands who lead the way with Dutch riders sweeping the podium at the recent world championships, where London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist and reigning European champion Laura SMULDERS took gold. She also leads the world rankings and 2018 World Cup standings.
SMULDERS' younger sister Merel took silver in Baku, ahead of world number two Judy BAAUW.
Netherlands aside, the home crowd will be looking forward to seeing 19-year-old Bethany SHRIEVER (GBR) in action. In May, the 2017 junior world champion won her first-ever World Cup race, underlining her status as one of the sport's most promising young riders.
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