August 21, 2007(Beijing, China) – Less than one year before BMX racing makes its Olympic debut at the 2008 Games in Beijing, Donny Robinson (Napa, Calif.) rode to victory in the official BMX Olympic test event on Tuesday. The event, which doubled as the second round of the 2007 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, featured an all-star field of Olympic hopefuls from 25 countries in the only world-class competition scheduled on the track that will be used at the Olympic Games before next August.
As the sole American in the elite men’s final, Robinson outrode Dutchman Robert de Wilde and Australian Jared Graves to claim the win and bolster his number-one world ranking.
Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.) led the U.S. with a fifth-place effort in the elite women’s contest. As in the men’s final, only one American advanced from the semifinals as Kintner finished behind world champion Shanaze Reade (GBR), Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA), Laetitia le Corguille (FRA) and Maria Gabriela Diaz (ARG).
For Robinson, the win proved to be a major accomplishment after being eliminated in the quarterfinals at last month’s world championships.
“I was pretty disappointed with my performance at worlds, but that’s the way BMX is”, Robinson explained. “Things can happen all the time, but you can’t let it get you down, especially now that the road to the Olympics is in full swing. It’s a huge win for myself.”
Robinson was one of 13 Americans that made the trip to China to compete in the elite men’s division. After Monday’s qualifying round, the U.S. had again illustrated the depth which has it ranked number one in the world. Mike Day (Santa Clarita, Calif.), Kyle Bennett (Conroe, Texas) and Steven Cisar (Altadena, Calif.) claimed the top-three seeds as the only three riders to clock lap times under 37 seconds. Robinson qualified 16th, while Danny Calaug (China, Calif.) qualified 25th, Nicholas Long (Lakeside, Calif.) 27th, Randy Stumpfhauser (Sanger, Calif.) 29th and Tyler Brown (San Clemente, Calif.) 30th, giving the U.S. eight riders in the 32-man quarterfinal round.
Four of those athletes – Day, Robinson, Bennett and Cisar – advanced to the semifinals, but only Robinson was able to secure a spot in the eight-man final where he faced de Wilde, Graves, Raymon van der Biezen (NED), Pablo Gutierrez (FRA), Martijn Scherpen (NED), Rob van den Wildenberg (NED) and Arturs Matisons (LAT).
In the final, Robinson took advantage of a good start to enter the first of four turns in the lead and hold off the rest of the field, finishing 0.185 seconds ahead of de Wilde for the win.
“The time trial didn’t go as well as I thought it should have, but that’s like having one bad lap at worlds”, Robinson said. “You just can’t think about it, especially with the weather and the amount of racing we did today. Mentally, the toughest rider out there wins most of the time and luckily I had the best lap in the main.
This week’s competition gave the U.S. delegation an opportunity to preview the Olympic course and get a sense for what it will take to perform well at the Olympic Games next summer.
“The Supercross races are technical and the courses are big, so the power riders don’t have an advantage with the big start ramp,” Robinson explained. “You really have to be a finess rider and hit all the rhythm straight-aways consistently. It takes an awesome rider just to get around this track and this one is the biggest that we’ve ridden.”
Kintner, the 1997 UCI BMX World Champion and two-time 4-cross world champion in the sport of mountain biking (2005, 06), qualified eighth for the U.S. and was joined by Americans Amanda Geving (Largo, Fla.), Kim Hayashi (Chandler, Ariz.) and Arielle Martin (Clarksville, Tenn.) in the semifinals. Kintner was the only American to qualify for the eight-woman final where she lined up against Reade, Chausson, le Corguille, Diaz, Sarah Walker (NZL), Nicole Callisto (AUS) and Tanya Bailey (AUS). Kintner, who will defend her 4-cross title at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Scotland in two weeks, turned an impressive fifth-place finish considering her split schedule of mountain bike and BMX racing this season.
2007 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup #2
Beijing, China – August 20-21
1. Donny Robinson (Napa, Calif.)
2. Robert de Wilde (NED)
3. Jared Graves (AUS)
1. Shanaze Reade (GBR)
2. Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA)
3. Laetitia le Corguille (FRA)
5. Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.)