LONDON—Daniel Caluag finally took in the hitherto secret track that will host cycling’s BMX competition at the London Olympics here Wednesday. And he liked what he saw.
“Oh, it’s fantastic,” the 25-year-old Filipino-American rider said Sunday night after organizers briefly opened the track to the select 32 entries in the event. “It has a unique character. It will be fun out there.”
Caluag, accompanied by his wife and mechanic Stephanie and coach James Richardson, walked through the BMX venue inside the Olympic Park, a 450-meter dirt track featuring an eight-meter down ramp, sharp corners and an S-bend transfer.
The son of physicians from Bulacan and Nueva Ecija said the United States team barred him in May from training with its riders in Chula Vista, California, where the Americans had built an exact copy of the London track. The British last week accused the Americans of “course espionage” for stealing the course design.
Caluag, the four-time No. 1 pro in the US, said he knows the majority of the starting field but is not intimidated.
“They’re practically the same people whom I’ve competed with,” he said.
Heading the list of favorites in cycling’s most exhilarating event is Australian Sam Willoughby, the world No. 1 who topped the Birmingham world championships in June and for three consecutive years from 2008 was the World Cup champion. Then there is defending Olympic champion Maris Strombergs of Latvia.
“I’d like to enjoy the moment and compete at the same time,” said Caluag, the only Asian in the competition.
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