Walker back to third in world

Sarah Walker celebrates on the podium in Argentina. Photo – Nico van Dartel.

Cambridge’s BMX superstar Sarah Walker fought back from years of injury-laden adversity in Argentina over the weekend to finish on the podium at the UCI BMX World Cup.

Sarah finished third in the penultimate round of the competition in Santiago del Estero – her first World Cup podium in seven years – behind current world champion Laura Smulders (NED) and the 2017 world champion Alise Willoughby (USA).

Sarah’s last World Cup podium was in London in 2011, and since has battled a number of serious injuries but remained determined to make her comeback at the highest level. She was third in a stacked qualifying heat ahead of Willoughby and fellow American Brooke Crain, who were both forced to qualify in the last chance heat.

The 30-year-old veteran won her quarterfinal in impressive fashion after storming out of the gate to lead throughout and was second behind American Felicia Stancil in the semi-final in a photo finish by just 5/1000ths of a second. She bounced well out of the gate in the final and while Smulders and Willoughby pushed clear, Walker was just as emphatic in third placing.

Earlier Te Awamutu’s Rebecca Petch qualified in the opening heat in second place but was edged back to fifth in her quarterfinal with only half a second separating third to fifth placings.

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