LONDON (AFP) –
Dutchman Raymon Van der Biezen took the first important step towards men’s BMX gold Wednesday, topping the seeding run for the 32-strong field at the Olympic Park circuit on Wednesday.
Van der Bieizen set a time of 37.779sec for the 450m course as riders jockeyed to gain the top seeding positions and preferred gate selection for the quarter-final races on Thursday.
Frenchman Joris Daudet, second at the 2012 world championships, was second in 38.221 with another Dutchman, Twan van Gendt, third in 38.339.
American medal favourite Connor Fields was fourth in 38.431, just ahead of Colombia’s Andres Eduardo Jimenenz.
Australia’s reigning world champion Sam Willoughby was sixth in 38.496 while defending Olympic champion Maris Strombergs was only 11th in 38.697.
Another Latvian, Edzus Treimanis, provided spectacular drama when he flew over the handlebars of his bike and landed awkwardly after negotiating a jump badly.
He was the only rider of the field to crash but despite not finishing the course he will be allowed to continue.
The men’s field is now split into four separate heats for Thursday’s quarter-finals, during which a total of five races will be held.
After the first three races the top two riders from each heat qualify for the semi-finals. The third and fourth-placed riders then participate in two further races in a bid to make the semi-finals.
The men’s semi-finals and final and the women’s final will be held on Friday.