By Paul D. Bowker | June 08, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)
Alise Post competes in the BMX time trial at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games on July 10, 2015 in Toronto.

 

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A powerful U.S. team is going for gold at this week’s UCI BMX World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Of the eight U.S. elite cyclists, four are two-time Olympians: 2016 gold medalist Connor Fields, Nic Long, 2016 silver medalist Alise (Post) Willoughby and Brooke Crain. Corben Sharrah and Willoughby are defending world champions from last year’s event held in the U.S.

Five days of competition conclude with the highly anticipated elite and junior finals Saturday. The U.S. has four athletes in both the women’s and men’s elite divisions.

Willoughby, who won her eighth national championship earlier this year, has followed up her world championship season with another strong year. She won Round 4 of the BMX Supercross World Cup in Papendal, Netherlands, and was runner-up in Round 3.

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“Alise showed that she’s still at the top of her game,” said Jamie Staff, USA Cycling performance director, BMX & sprint track.

Joining Willoughby in the elite women’s races are Crain, 2018 U.S. silver medalist Dani George and Mika Shaw, who has three top-20 finishes this year on the world cup circuit.

Sharrah, who won his first major international competition at last year’s worlds in Rock Hill, South Carolina, enters this year’s worlds in fifth place in the world cup standings. He has two top-10 finishes and won the 2018 U.S. championship.

Also in the elite men’s competition is Fields, who is ranked ninth in the world cup standings, along with Long and U.S. silver medalist Jared Garcia.

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.