By Karen Price | June 01, 2019, 11:45 a.m. (ET)
Hannah Roberts competes in the qualification round of the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup in Montpellier, France on May 29, 2019. 

 

The sport of BMX freestyle is still over a year away from making its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020, and the women of Team USA continue to cement themselves as the ones to beat in world competition.

At the second stop on the 2019 UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup series, Hannah Roberts once again furthered her case as the one to beat as the 2017 world champion held off teammate Perris Benegas in a close final on Saturday in Montpelier, France.

Roberts followed up her win in the series opener in April in Hiroshima, Japan, with a high score of 93.00 in Saturday’s final. That beat even her semifinal-leading score of 90.60 as the 17-year-old from Buchanan, Michigan, pulled out all the stops. 

Benegas, who missed last year’s competition in Montpelier because of injury, was hot on Roberts’ heels throughout the competition, finishing just behind her in the semifinal with 88 points. But, as in Hiroshima, the 23-year-old from Reno, Nevada, finished in second place to Roberts again in the final with a score of 90.60.

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The two have dominated the world scene in recent years, with Benegas following Roberts’ 2017 world title with her own in 2018. Those were the first two world titles awarded in the sport. Roberts, who took bronze at the world championships last year, also won the world cup series for the second year in a row.

Well behind them in the scoring on Saturday was Germany’s Lara Marie Lessman in third place with 84.60 points. 

Chelsea Wolfe, also of the U.S., finished in fifth place, while last year’s world championship silver medalist, Angie Marino, rounded out the top 10. 

BMX racing has been included on the Olympic schedule since 2008, but 2020 will be the first year for this style of BMX in which riders traverse a terrain park performing tricks off rails, jumps and other features. Nations began the qualification period for earning quota spots in November 2018, and that period lasts through May 11, 2020.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.