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BMX World Championships on the BBC: Five reasons to watch

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BMX World Championships
Venue: Baku, Azerbaijan Date: 9-10 June
Coverage: Sunday, 10 June: 17:50-20:40 BST, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app and Connected TV

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is hosting BMX’s annual World Championships for the first time this weekend, and the event will be available on the BBC

Sunday’s finals of the men’s and women’s elite and junior men’s and women’s events are being streamed on the BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website, BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

Here are five reasons why you should give this weekend’s action a look.

1. Britain have one of the hot favourites

Beth Shriever won the World Junior Championships last year and proved her credentials as an up-and-coming star with victory at a World Cup event in Belgium earlier this season.

The 19-year-old is one of five GB riders in the elite events this weekend, with four Britons competing in the junior categories.

Tre Whyte, who competes in the men’s event, won bronze at the 2014 World Championships.

GB squad:

Elite men: Kyle Evans, Quillan Isidore, Kye Whyte, Tre Whyte

Elite women: Beth Shriever

Junior men: Ross Cullen, Tian Isidore

Junior women: Elissa Bradford, Libby Smith

2. BMX has speed, thrills and spills

The track in Baku is fast and undulating, with big jumps and tight curves, and riders are racing against each other, not the clock, so contact-related incidents are not out of the question.

Throw in the fact Baku’s course is prone to high winds capable of disrupting riders and you have a recipe for high drama on two wheels.

3. BMX is an Olympic sport…

…and has been since the Beijing Olympics in 2008, so Tokyo will be its fourth Olympic outing.

GB are yet to win their first Olympic medal in the sport, but only four nations have won more World Championship titles since the first ‘official’ event in 1996.

4. Baku has embraced sport – and especially BMX racing

Azerbaijan’s sporting chiefs have been very active of late.

You may remember Baku hosted the inaugural European Games in 2015, when BMX was one of the sports on show.

Baku built a track for that event and then, when the rules were changed, ripped it up and built a bigger and better one – with a one-of-a-kind first jump – so it could host the 2018 World Championships.

5. Winners get to wear a unique jersey for the next year

Because the event is organised by cycling’s world governing body the UCI, world champions get to wear the rainbow jersey (only in the event they won it for) for the next 12 months. There’s also a “W1” plate for their bike.

The only way to keep hold of this unique item of clothing is to keep winning the world title.

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