Reigning UCI BMX World Champion Caroline Buchanan was all smiles upon her return home to Australia on Tuesday after the 2013 Australian Institute of Sport Athlete of the Year captured the Supercross World Cup opener in Manchester, England over the weekend.
Poised to claim back-to-back world titles in 2014, the win marked the return of Buchanan to the sport after 12 months away, and proved that she has fully put her 2012 Olympic disappointment in London behind her.
Buchanan, who’s stellar 2013 also included a Four Cross MTB World Championship, talked with BikeRadar at Fox Sports about her opening round win.
“It was the start of the world cup tour and after having a bit over 12 months off from the World Cup,” said Buchanan. “It was my comeback to Supercross and I wanted to kickoff the season on a positive note. Plus, I had the UCI world championship jersey on my back and I wanted to wear it with pride and do the rainbow stripes a bit of justice.”
When asked if she tires from the demands of the sport and serving as its world champ, Buchanan is quick to answer.
“It never gets old,” she said. “The best thing about BMX is that it is still a challenge and every track is different so there is always different variables and there is always another challenge. The track in Manchester was basically built to give the British riders an advantage over the rest of the world – it was really technical and hard.
“I like that it forces the rest of us to lift our game,” she added. “Keeps it interesting.”
To keep track of Buchanan's 2014 season progress, be sure to follow her new show - 'Buchanan On Air'
Buchanan is all about keeping things interesting and diverse. Her plans for the new year were to be more project-oriented, which includes the launch of Team BUCHANAN Next Gen, which has raised more than $10,000 to support two Australian world-ranked hopefuls for the BMX World Championships in Holland, including Sydney’s Paige Harding, 10, and Canberra’s Mikayla Rose, 13.
Buchanan also shared with BikeRadar news on the expected launch of her signature line of DK Bicycles aimed for the 2- to 5-year-old BMX Australia ‘Mini Wheelers’ market.
“I am so excited about the bike range,” said Buchanan. ‘The Mini Wheelers programs is a grass roots initiative debuted at the nationals last year and it is the future of not just BMX, but all cycling sports in Australia
With Four-Cross no longer a UCI event, Buchanan is keen to retain her BMX crown as well as the time trial world title that eluded her last year.
“The time trial has always been a bit of a specialty of mine,” said Buchanan. “But I also really want to win the national title and have the Australian flag sewn onto my jersey sleeve for the whole year.”
Other than the reigning national champion Melinda McLeod, Buchanan will also face off against 2013 World Championship runner-up Lauren Reynolds, and she says there is a bit of pressure heading into the race.
“This race just shows that the level of talent in this country is huge,” she said. “We were the No.1-ranked nation coming into London in 2012, and this year we have the top two girls from the world championship in Auckland vying for Melinda’s title.
“Do I feel pressure? Sure. There is always pressure, but I love pressure.”