BMX European Championships kick off today in Verona.  UEC

Three days of competition start today. 2,130 riders from 25 countries are competing. Titles in the Elite, Under-23 and Junior categories will be contested from today, Friday, until next Sunday. Reigning champion Zoe Claessens is one of the favourites. Cedric Butti and local athlete Giacomo Fantoni are also among the favourites in the men's category.

Three days of competition at the modern BMX Olympic Arena, in the heart of the Veneto region's capital, start today. By next Sunday we will know who the European champions are. From 31 May to 2 June, titles will be up for grabs in the men's and women's elite, under-23 and junior categories, as well as in the European Challenge and Team Time Trial. A total of 2,130 athletes from 25 countries will take part.

Some of the world's best specialists will be competing in Verona. Zoe Claessens (Switzerland), the current European champion in the elite category and silver medallist at the last world championships, is one of the favourites. Her competitive spirit and personal ambition make her one of the leading contenders for the title. In the women's race, Laura Smulders (Netherlands) will be one of the athletes to watch, while in the men's race, Cedric Butti (Switzerland) and local athlete Giacomo Fantoni will be of particular interest.

Enrico Della Casa, President of the European Cycling Union, said, "The 2024 BMX European Championships in Verona already have everything they need to be an unforgettable event. This year, more than 2,000 athletes from all over Europe will take part in this continental event, ready to challenge each other on a historic track that is a world benchmark in the BMX world. The Verona Olympic BMX Arena, with its long tradition and constant activity, is the ideal place to host an event of this magnitude."

"We are particularly proud of the high level of participation in this Olympic year. This is a tangible sign of the importance of this event. The organisational commitment is undoubtedly considerable, but Verona's experience in organising major events is the best guarantee of success", he said.

Della Casa emphasised Verona's interest in hosting the event. He said that the Mayor of Verona was committed to the organisation of the championships. "The organisers, led by the tireless Paolo Fantoni, have taken care of every detail with dedication, and the volunteers, with their invaluable contribution, make events of this magnitude possible."

The European BMX Cycling Championships are the benchmark competition at continental level, and this year they take on great significance in the run-up to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. They have been organised annually since 1996 by the European Cycling Union (UEC).

The championship was held as a series of events throughout the season until the 2013 edition. At each event, riders accumulated points, and the rider with the most points at the final race was crowned that year's champion. In recent years, the championships have followed the same format as the road and cyclo-cross championships. 

This means that all the titles are contested in a single weekend, with all the competitors competing in a single event. The excitement is greater and the possibility of a mishap ruining your hopes is greater.

France, the true dominator of this discipline, tops the historical medals table in this competition. It is followed by the Netherlands, always in constant rivalry with its French neighbours. Latvia rounds off the top of the podium in the medals table.