Lily flourishes at worlds

Cambridge BMX prodigy Lily Greenough, picked up silver in the junior women’s final at the UCI BMX Racing World Championships in the United States on Sunday.

The 16-year-old St Peter’s School student and Australian Teya Rufus dominated their semifinals and in the head-to-head, it was Rufus who edged her Kiwi rival by .56s.

Lily Greenough on the podium. Photo: Cole McOnie.

Brother Jack, 18, was fourth in the under men’s final after he was squeezed to the back of the field on the first turn while their older brother Bennett, 20, who had looked in outstanding form, slid out on the challenging first turn while leading his semifinal.

Other Cambridge riders had mixed fortune with elite rookie Leila Walker, 19, finishing seventh at the Rock Hill course in South Carolina.

Walker, who made a late start to the season recovering from injury, is yet to develop into world-class rider out of the gate, but possesses outstanding speed and racecraft around the track. Time and again at Rock Hill, Walker was forced to ride through from the back.

She was quite superb in her semifinal, rushing from last at the first turn to finish fourth to qualify for the final. And again she was squeezed at the first turn in the final, but fought back to finish seventh.

“It is very surreal and has not sunk in yet. The racing was fast, tough but I am super-happy with my riding,” said Walker.

“This definitely exceeds my expectations. I am proud to wear the fern, proud to put New Zealand back in an elite women’s final after Rebecca (Petch) went to track.

“It’s great to represent New Zealand and put us back into the elite women’s main.”

Cambridge rider Finn Cogan had mixed fortunes, winning his qualifying heat in junior men but edged by one spot in his push for a place in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

Leila Walker in action at the UCI BMX Racing World Championships in South Carolina, USA. Photo: Cole McOnie.

 

The championship brings to completion the qualifying period for the Paris Olympic Games, with Cycling New Zealand awaiting advice from the UCI on the official allocation of qualifying spots.

Grand Final Results:

Elite Men: Joris Daudet (FRA) 32.735, 1; Niek Kimmann (NED) 33.300, 2; Sylvain Andre (FRA) 33.864, 3. Also: Rico Bearman (NZL) 34.924, 6.

Elite Women: Alise Willoughby (USA) 32.513, 1; Zoe Claessens (SUI) 32.886, 2; Daleny Vaughn (USA).33.522, 3. Also: Leila Walker (NZL) 35.332, 7.

Under-23 Men: Pedro Benalcazar Guerrero (COL) 33.117, 1; Patrick O’Brien (USA) 33.568, 2; Jason Noordam (NED) 33.674, 3. Also: Jack Greenough (NZL) 34.352, 4.

Under-23 Women: Veronika Sturiska (LAT) 33.173, 1; Emily Hutt (GBR) 33.393, 2; Bella May (AUS) 33.827, 3.

Junior Men: Joshua Jolly (AUS) 33.464, 1; Niels Appermont (BEL) 34.316, 2; Valentino Vallejo (ARG) 40.177, 3.

Junior Women: Teya Refus (AUS) 33.271, 1; Lily Greenough (NZL) 33.830, 2; Ava Corley (USA) 34.105, 3.

Saturday 18 May

Seven New Zealand riders – including three members of the remarkable Greenough family of Cambridge – have qualified through to the quarterfinals after the first day of the UCI BMX Racing World Championships at Rock Hill, South Carolina today.

The forecast wet weather did not eventuate with riders enjoying ideal conditions for the world championships, which double as the final qualifying event for the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

Bennett Greenough in action on the first day of finals at the UCI BMX Racing World Championships in South Carolina, USA today. Photo: Cole McOnie.

Leading the way were brothers Bennett and Jack Greenough both winning their respective one-eighth finals today in the under-23 men, while younger sister Lily managed fourth in her first round heat and will also chase tomorrow’s race for medals.

Cambridge prospect Leila Walker and Rotorua’s Megan Williams are also through to quarterfinals in elite women.

Walker was fourth in her qualifying round to grab the final spot in the quarterfinals, while Williams just missed out but progressed after finishing runner-up in the Last Chance round.

In action – Bennett and Jack Greenough. Photo: Aaron Gillions.

There is considerable interest in the elite men, where both Rico Bearman and Michael Bias are through to the quarterfinals, after the pair drew the same heat in qualifying. Bearman, the Speedco professional, won that heat with Bias, a recent winner in France, in second place to both qualify.

Bias managed second place in his one-eighth final and Bearman third in his heat in the 10th fastest time overall, with both progressing to the quarterfinals tomorrow.

Not so lucky were Tauranga’s Hannah Mason, missing by one place in the Last Chance in junior women; Te Awamutu’s Brooke Penny out in the under-23 women and Nicholas Cowie, who crashed in his junior men’s heat and was unable to start in the Last Chance.

Cambridge rider Finn Cogan had mixed fortunes, winning his qualifying heat in junior men but edged by one spot in his push for a place in the quarterfinals, as was the case for Rotorua’s Will Skipper.

Lily Greenough in action on the first day of finals at the UCI BMX Racing World Championships in South Carolina, USA today. Photo: Cole McOnie.

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