Sarah Walker Third, Kurt Pickard Second In European Bmx

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Mon 4/May/09 2:09pm

World No 2 Sarah Walker has finished third in the latest round of the European BMX Championships in Italy.

Walker (Kawerau), along with fellow Beijing Olympian Marc Willers, Tauranga’s Kurt Pickard and Christchurch’s Matthew Davies are part of a BikeNZ team who have been training and racing in Europe.

The main objective is this weekend’s opening round of the UCI Supercross World Cup in Denmark.

Walker, fourth in Beijing, was third in both rounds of the weekend’s racing in Creazzo, Italy behind world junior champion Manon Valentino and Olympic silver medallist Laetitia Le Corguille, both from France.

Pickard, who won the junior elite class two weeks ago in the Czech Republic, finished second to further impress in his first major international competition.

Willers, recovering from a shoulder injury following a crash, won his qualifying motos yesterday before he was brought down in a crash and was withdrawn as a precaution against further aggravating his shoulder.

Davies did not qualify for the finals.

“The track was really fast but quite dangerous and there were a lot of crashes in the elite class,” BikeNZ coach Ken Cools said.

“Kurt has really turned some heads here in Europe. I was hoping for a good result out of him on this trip to show him what he is capable of, but he already has been riding like a seasoned vet.”

Walker drew lane five in both of her finals and while she nosed in front on the first day, she was forced wide while she worked her way passed Le Corguille on the straight only to be blocked into the final straight.

“I was definitely the fastest on the track and it was pretty cool to just fly by the Olympic Silver Medallist on one straight. It's also exciting that the things I need to work on are the easiest things to develop - being stronger and more aggressive,” Walker said.

The team heads to Copenhagen tomorrow to prepare for the Supercross World Cup on a technical and demanding track with some significant jumps. Walker was fourth in the event last year.
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