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Steven Cisar led the United States Cycling Team on Saturday with a silver medal in the elite men’s contest at the 2008 UCI BMX World Championships in China.
As one of two Americans to qualify for the final eight-man main, the Californian finished 0.384 seconds off the pace of winner Maris Strombergs (LAT), while Stifiso Nhlapo (RUS) took the bronze and American Donny Robinson (Napa, California) placed fourth.
For Cisar, it was his second trip to the podium this season in a major international event. In February he captured a bronze medal in the opening round of the 2008 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series.
Cisar and Robinson were the only two U.S. athletes to advance out of the quarterfinals as other notable Americans such as defending world champion Kyle Bennett (Conroe, Texas), David Herman (Wheat Ridge, Colorado), Randy Stumpfhauser (Sanger, California) and Danny Caluag (Chino, California) all qualified for the round of 32 but failed to advance to the semifinals, leaving only Cisar and Robinson as medal contenders.
In the elite women’s event, Jill Kintner (Seattle, Washington) was the top U.S. finisher in sixth place as the only American to advance to the main. Shanaze Reade (GBR), Ann-Caroline Chausson (FRA) and Sarah Walker (NZL) earned the top three spots respectively.
Entering the world championships, the U.S. was on the fringe of securing a second women’s start position for the Olympic Games. Needing a top-four overall nation’s ranking following the event, the U.S. entered the world championships ranked fifth — one point behind New Zealand, seven points behind Argentina and 13 points off Australia. Entering the event, France had a commanding hold on the number-one spot. Based on its performance in Taiyuan, the U.S. is expected to retain its fifth-place ranking when the UCI issues its official standings next week.
Arielle Martin (Pleasant Grove, Utah) crashed out in her quarterfinal heat, while Kim Hayashi (Chandler, Arizona) and Stephanie Barragan (Montclair, California) also failed to advance out of the round of 32, leaving Kintner as the only U.S. athlete among the final 16 contenders.
Also on Saturday, the U.S. turned in strong performances in the junior championship categories as Denzel Stein (Desoto, Texas) earned a bronze medal in the junior men’s event and compatriot Travis Ohrazda (Garden Grove, Calif.) finished sixth.
For the U.S. men’s field, the next major competition will be the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 14 in Chula Vista, California where the winner will earn an automatic nomination to the Olympic team.
1. Shanaze Reade (GBR)
2. Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA)
3. Sarah Walker (NZL)
1. Manon Valentino (FRA)
2. Laureen Reynolds (AUS)
3. Rachel Bracken (AUS)
1. Maris Strombergs (LAT)
2. Steven Cisar (USA)
3. Sifiso Nhlapo (RSA)
1. Sam Willoughby (AUS)
2. Vincent Pelluard (FRA)
3. Denzel Stain (USA)